I first got sick in January of this year, ten months ago now. I felt rundown and my face always hurt. After several inconclusive doctors appointments ("You're a mother, you're probably just tired. I took a class in medical school called Women are Whiners.") I developed lumps on the top of my mouth. Of course, I thought I was dying from mouth cancer. The doctor didn't send me to an oncologist, however, but figured the lumps meant I was not fibbing, I probably had a sinus infection. After antibiotics it was like the skies parted and I was a different, lighter, happy person.
That lasted about a month.
Then I got a string of sore throats. I got antibiotics for Strep but it didn't take the problem all the way away. I would feel okay for three days and then have a low-level fever and sore throat for a week. This lasted all spring and into the beginning of the summer. Then I had about a month and a half of lovely summertime when I thought I was cured.
Then the ear infections started.
Lately I have felt a bit desperate. I have started eating two cloves of raw garlic a day. Last night I tried putting garlic in my ears. Normally my husband says he likes the smell of garlic, but on the way to church yesterday he opened the windows and said, "Um, can you turn your face that way? away from me?"
As unhelpful as it is to be sick, the worst thing is my attitude about being sick. The running tally of my sins includes:
Blaming a fever for impatience with my children.
Blaming a fever for untidiness in my house.
Blaming my family, friends, and amorphous set of responsibilities for making me sick.
Using my sickness to act like a big whiney Jewish martyr.
Last night at church I prayed that God would make me better. That he would make me better physically or that he would make me a better person to deal with being sick. Because, really, either one would work right now. I want to be healthy but more than that I want to be a human.
I had this vision while I was praying of a giant God holding me on a giant fork. Like Jack and the Beanstalk kind of scale. Fee Fi Fo Fum.
And the idea I had was that God is going to somehow EAT this crappy body of mine. And that that would be a good thing.
And then I thought, WTF? That's not even just gross it's A-BIBLICAL! That's pagan kind of shit. God doesn't eat people; he says in psalms that he doesn't need to eat at all. That's devil-worship madness sneaking into my consciousness. Devil, stop speaking to me in Jesus name.
Then today at the lunch table, I hear Harvey making up a song:
"He ate the sickness
and He ate the deadness
that's cuz God is a rescuer.
I WANT MORE KETCHUP!"
(The Ketchup part is per Harvey, not God, by the way. Harvey likes a massive amount of ketchup for his grilled cheese.)
I would like to see this as a different spin on Isaiah's prophesy: "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows." (Isaiah 53:4) Surely He ate the sickness. Surely He ate the deadness. Because God is a rescuer.
I want more ketchup.