Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lost Days

One evening last week, while the boys were watching the Stanley Cup, my daughter and I decided to make some delicious peanut butter coconut squares from La Dolce Vegan. Just as I wrapped the plastic wrap over the finished squares, my knees started to ache and I felt a bit of a chill. By the time I got upstairs to lie down, I was shivering uncontrollably. For the next two days, I barely moved from my bed, suffering from nausea, fever, aches and pains. I was eventually diagnosed with a chest infection. As I started to heal, I wondered how we can find inspiration on those dreary, painful days when we are sick. It brought to mind the story of American writer Flannery O'Connor, who was diagnosed with lupus in her twenties. Faced with the same disease that had killed her father, she returned to her family farm, but she didn’t abandon her passions. She went on to complete more than two dozen short stories and two novels while raising her beloved ducks, hens, geese and exotic birds and occasionally travelling to give lectures on faith and literature. She died on August 3, 1964, at the age of 39. “In a sense sickness is a place more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and it’s always a place where there’s no company, where nobody can follow,” O’Connor said. For me, my temporary illness was a reminder of some very simple lessons. Your body speaks to you. If you don’t listen, the messages get louder. If you feel sick, chances are you need a break. Ask for help from anybody who can give it. Grab a cup of tea and curl up under the covers with a good book. Or just go to sleep. The bad days will make the good days sweeter.

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