Skip to main content

the stages of a cold


I have been living with a stupid, nasty cold for 10 days now.  I suppose the fact that it is still partying in my body means that it is perhaps not so stupid and in fact pretty smart.  But I still maintain that is it nasty!  Whatever the case, over the course of the last week and a half I have observed a few different stages that I have gone through with this cold.

1. Denial.  It is just a wee scratchy throat.  It will probably be gone by morning. I'll just ignore it.
2. More Denial.  It's been a few days and I am starting to cough, so I think that's a sign that it is almost over.  I am sure I will feel much better tomorrow.  And besides, I can pretty much function as normal.
3. Impatience.  Why is this taking so long?  It's been a week and I should be feeling better!  It is interfering with my life.  (At this point I started asking for helpful suggestions to get rid of the thing).
4. Anger.  Okay, that's it!  I have had enough.  This sucker is done! (I bought cough syrup and cold medicine and started stuffing it down my throat).
5. Disappointment.  I can't sleep!  I don't feel any better!  Why isn't this medicine working?  Everything is useless.
6. Make a plan. So the cold medicine is keeping me awake at night and not really helping.  I'll forgo all the medicine and change my diet.  No dairy products (which feed the phlegm) and no sugar (which feeds the bacterias and viruses).  Just clear liquids, fruit, and vegetables.  And I'll go to bed earlier.
7. Small improvements.  I got good night's sleep!  I am not coughing as much!  I have a bit more stamina!  Yes, things are getting better!
8. Gratitude.  This morning, I noticed myself rejoicing over small things that I take for granted much of the time.  Things like being able to sleep through the night, having energy to do my work, a clear head and mind, being able to walk without pain, a loving husband who forgives me for coughing on him at night, a shower in the morning, a beautiful home, a sunny day, fresh tomatoes, a glass of orange juice, clothes to wear... (and the list goes on and on).

I have done my share of praying during this cold.  I asked God to heal me, to help me sleep, to take away the cough, to clear my head.  I whined, I complained, and I pleaded.  When nothing much seemed to change, I was disappointed that my requests went pretty much unanswered.  Why would God let me suffer this long without loving intervention?  It seemed cruel.  This morning, I realised that my goal of 'feeling good' is perhaps not the same goal that the Lover of my soul has in mind.  He always seems more concerned with things like character, maturity, patience, gratitude, and other things that, if they are truly real and present, should not be affected by any amount of suffering or inconvenience.  In our weak moments, we see where our strength really lies.  I hope that my strength does not depend on everything going well in my life.  That would be a pretty shallow and temporary strength.

One of my strengths is a grateful and trusting heart. Today, I am trying to grow and nourish it.  That means that I am even thankful for this cold which has shown me how ungrateful I can be.


Photos:  Top - cold paraphernalia.  Bottom - flower blooming this morning on my back porch... so pretty!

Comments

littlelamb said…
Did you take a salt bath? I am always super thankful for salt after I take one when I have a cold. It clears up SO fast! Thanks God for salt! (or gargling/salt compresses)
Matte Downey said…
I tried a eucalyptus salt bath a few days later. Wow! It did do me wonders. Thanks for your suggestion.
Anonymous said…
I came across this blog as I had Googled "stages of a cold". I am in the early stages, but rather than complain I will hopefully remember to thank and praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thanks for writing this.
Ashley said…
Great post! I was being very ungrateful and impatient, instead of being focused on Christ. I should be happy that I'm even still alive. Thanks for this!
Anonymous said…
I came across your post while in the stages of a seemingly unending cold.

As a holistic health care practitioner who rarely gets sick, the whole experience brings a whole new level of compassion for those who become ill frequently.

Thank you Matte for your insight and for reminding me of the "Bigger Picture".

Kaaren J.

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

theology from the margins: God of Hagar

Our contexts have major implications for how we live our lives and engage with our world, that much is obvious. However, we sometimes overlook how much they inform our concepts of God. For those of us occupying the central or dominant demographic in society, we often associate God with power and truth. As a result, our theology is characterized by confidence, certainty, and an expectation that others should be accommodating. For those of us living on the margins of society, our sense of belonging stranded in ambiguity, God is seen as an advocate for the powerless. Our theology leans more toward inclusivity, and we talk less about divine holiness and righteousness and more about a God who suffers. On the margins, the priority is merciful and just action, not correct beliefs. 
There are significant theological incongruences between Christians who occupy the mainstream segment of society and those who exist on the margins. The world of theology has been dominated by Western male thought…

the movement of humility

We live in a context of stratification where much of society is ordered into separate layers or castes. We are identified as upper class, middle class, or lower class. Our language reflects this up/down (superior/inferior) paradigm. We want to be at the top of the heap, climb the ladder of success, break through the glass ceiling, be king of the hill. This same kind of thinking seeps into our theology. When we talk about humility, we think mostly think in terms of lowering ourselves, willfully participating in downward mobility. This type of up/down language is certainly present in biblical texts (James 4:10 is one example), but I believe that the kind of humility we see in Jesus requires that we step outside of a strictly up/down paradigm. Instead of viewing humility as getting down low or stepping down a notch on the ladder of society, perhaps it is more helpful to think in terms of proximity and movement.

Jesuit theologian, James Keenan, notes that virtues and vices are not really…