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peace and nothing

At the beginning of December God showed me that I was not operating from a foundation of peace in my life. Yep, you’re right, God, let me readjust that. And so I became more aware of remaining calm instead of getting stressed out, not letting little situations bug me, giving people the benefit of the doubt, keeping a closer check on my emotions when they threatened to go all weird on me, and things were pretty good. We were at relative peace (meditative hum).

Ten days ago I developed a little fever. It was nothing, just get a little rest, take a few Advils, it will be gone in a few days. Six days later I was thrashing around on the bed wondering why someone didn’t invent something beyond beds; because if you are standing up and feel bad…you sit down; if you are sitting down and feel bad, you lie on the bed; if you are lying on the bed and feel bad…there is nowhere else to go to get relief. I was on my bed and had no relief. The prolonged fever was affecting my brain, my dreams, my ability to get a good night’s sleep, my ability to eat anything, and my ability to think of living. I was convinced this was how people died. In my mind I had already willed my plane ticket to Africa to my good friend so that she could go see her family. Things were not looking good.

On day seven (a Sunday) I rallied my strength enough for my husband to pack me into the car and we drove around for an hour before we found a walk-in clinic that was open. I sat in the waiting room (well, a loose resemblance to sitting) for just over an hour-and-a-half before a doctor saw me, told me I had pneumonia, gave me a prescription to knock the pants off that nasty bacteria, and sent me back home. I was ecstatic when my fever broke on Monday morning and felt things were getting much better, even made supper and changed the bedding because it smelled of sickness. On Tuesday I was back in the old bed with new sheets, feeling horrible again, convinced I had not cheated death after all - he had just gone out for a smoke. And then I began to realize that there is only one way to get over pneumonia: the drugs would do their work, but I had to rest totally. No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no Christmas preparations, no tidying, no getting out of bed unnecessarily, no exertion of any kind. If I wanted to beat this thing in the quickest way possible, I had to spend a week doing virtually nothing.

I am beginning to realize that I had very little idea of what living from a foundation of peace looks like. There can be peace even when there are tufts of cat fur all over the floor and the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in almost 2 weeks. There can be peace even when you know your entire family is not going to get its Christmas gifts from you until way after the annual Christmas get-together this year. There can be peace when you miss all your exams for the French course you are taking. There can be peace when you have to miss the church Christmas celebration you helped put together and know that not everything went as smoothly as it could have. There can be peace when the world around you hardly skips a beat as it keeps hurrying by, and in fact, seems to ignore you and the fact that your life has come to a screeching halt. Don’t worry, your friends say, you’ll catch up soon. But I don’t want to catch up. I don’t want to go back to being a person who has to accomplish a certain number of tasks in a day just to feel viable as a human being. I will never become any more valuable and worthwhile as a person than I am right now in my mostly useless, fatigued and mucusy state. And I am at peace with that. Jesus came into this world to bring peace but so few of us actually take hold of it. It has been my greatest gift this year.

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