Meditations on a Sick Day

I’m home sick today with a cold when I would ordinarily be at work. As a hospital chaplain, sickness is something you have to take seriously, because you can’t risk either a) passing along your seemingly insignificant cold to someone with already lowered immune system defenses or b) allowing yourself to come into contact with hospital germs when your own immune system is down. So, I’m home sick today.

After the instant gratification of being able to go back to sleep once alerting my boss at 7am, I awoke two hours later to find that the cold persists and that I am bored. It’s one thing to be home from work when you have a raging fever, or when you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. But a cold? Come on! I’m sick enough not to risk exposing others, but not so sick that I’m bed-bound. My head is foggy and my hearing is unbalanced. My sinuses are clogged and my nose won’t stop running. My throat aches and I can’t stop coughing or sneezing. It’s admittedly not fun. But I am very bored.

So I watched an episode of Parenthood on Netflix while eating a bowl of cereal in bed. And then I made some tea. And I journaled for a little while. And I’m sitting here at my dining room table, looking out at the beautiful day that is existing outside my window right in this very moment, and I’m thinking about things. I’m thinking about the things I want to do and the person I want to be. I’m thinking about my hopes and dreams, traveling the world, writing, living, loving, experiencing. I’m turning 28 this year, and I’ve lived a host worthwhile experiences. And there are so many more just waiting to be had. It’s quite thrilling (and tiring) to think about all of these things.

As I prepare for the rapidly approaching commissioning interviews, I find myself thinking more and more about what kind of ministry I’m being called to at this point in my journey. My Clinical Pastoral Education residency will be ending in August. Where will I be then? Will I be serving a local church in Nashville as an associate pastor? Will I be continuing on the chaplaincy path toward endorsement and certification? Will I be appointed somewhere entirely new to serve in a rural town of which I know nothing? Will I be considering campus ministry positions? All of these rich possibilities provide me with some level of excitement and worry. I guess that’s life, isn’t it? Throwing yourself into the unknown. Trusting God to lead you where you are needed. I’m trying to trust in the process, but it’s really getting in the way of my control issues.

One thing I do know is that it’s moments like this, moments when I am still and pensive, when I consciously turn off the television, and stretch my body, and pause to reflect on existence, these are the moments that string together all the other moments of this beautifully complex life I’m living. These are the moments I never want to take for granted. These are the moments I listen for God, and God smiles with me, and we share tea together in the quiet and I know I am loved.

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