Being down with a terrible, nasty cold (dramatic, aren’t I) for a couple of weeks gave me an opportunity to reflect and feel gratitude. Gratitude? Yes, gratitude.
I realized what a gift health is.
Normally I have no trouble engaging my imagination and doing some world-class dreaming and planning. But the cold made this feel more like a chore than a delight.
Sleep. All I wanted to do was sleep, but it was hard to get enough. Although I spent lots of time on my back, the deep rest never came. I feel for people who never get enough even while they are healthy because of various reasons.
I like food with a lot of flavor. The cold took away most of it and I lost my appetite. Nan had to almost force food down me. She would often say “Feed a cold, feed a cold.” What a gift good smells, good flavors and good taste is.
Waking up with energy is a real joy. I like getting up in the morning and looking forward to the day. I missed church because I had no ability to muster up the energy and I didn’t want to infect my friends. I missed conversations and connecting and hugs and laughter and singing. I missed my friends.
So why is the title of this post “Kindness”?
I am most grateful for the kindness that Nanshowed me while I was sick. It’s not easy to nurse someone back to health. Sick people can be grumpy and demanding. They aren’t good companions some of the time. The things that I normally do, Nan had to do. But she did them cheerfully. Nan serves me well all the time, but I was especially aware of the kindness with which she does it when I was sick.
This is often the missing element in long term relationships. There is a lack of friendliness and gentleness and playfulness. We are more likely to encounter irritation, coldness or apathy than kindness in our daily interactions. This seems to be gradual erosion that happens when we are not intentional in keeping the relationship “current”. Unprocessed hurts will build up into resentments and we will stop trying or caring to keep a warm connection.
The stresses and busyness of daily life will also numb us out and steal our joy and make cheerful exchanges feel more like a burden. Often there are not enough hours in the day to carve out sufficient (or any) “me time”, where we replenish our emotional batteries. But even random hugs and a few kind words will go a long way to maintain a friendly bond.
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.