As I gulped a drink of water, my granddaughter, Allie, said, “That’s my glass.” She’d been home from school with a cold and still had the sniffles. There was a moment of ‘uh-oh’, soon forgotten . . . Until later that week, when I get sick.
I watch my mind move from denial, “Oh it’s just a sore throat, sneezing, must be allergic to something…” to disappointment. “Oh no, I won’t be able to go to Seder or — (fill in the blank with whatever you were counting on doing over the next few days). Then the mind tries to cut its losses: “Well, if I can’t go teach the last Sunday for a while, then I’ll stay home and catch up on some email, shave off a few inches of paper piles, start re-organizing my files.”
Finally, reality takes over. I wake up unable to breathe, unable to swallow without pain, or stop coughing. My head is stuffed with dripping, soggy cotton. I surrender. I’m sick. Misery. Staggering up to make ginger & turmeric tea, I give up any notion of doing anything useful or anything at all. Being sick is too demanding, even when we know we’re going to get better. I’m flattened.
In the country of being sick, customs and culture are different. All my plans and projects, ideas of becoming and doing, make no sense. Crossing the frontier into this land, I see resting and being are de rigueur. Somehow it’s peaceful to let go, not to struggle with reality. It’s just kind of miserable. I’m at peace.