Jim and I and four good friends were eating lunch around my table, when Jim said “Marsh, you have a rash on your face.” Looking in the mirror, I saw a face covered in zits, against a bright red, blotchy background. I had been feeling really tired since we sat down to the meal, but I thought it was from the morning of making the 2 soups, fruit salad, scones, muffins and dessert. Although I loved the conversation, loved having the house full, and hated to be rude, half an hour later I had to excuse myself from my own table and lay down. I slept, and woke up feeling even worse. I called my dear, sweet friend who is my physician and told him I felt like I had a mixture between Scarlet Fever and Polio. My arms and legs don’t ache, but feel weak and useless. (Naturally I’m thinking I’ll be paralyzed for life). I have a rash, sore throat and am generally feeling horrible. He said “Oh, you have that virus that’s going around. People who have it feel like they’re going to die.” Not polio? A virus? (Bad news. I know there’s nothing to do for a virus, but let it run its course. Sigh). Then he said “Yeah, it’ll get worse for three days and then you’ll develop this nasty, painful cough that will last for weeks.” (Since I have asthma, this was NOT what I wanted to hear.)
So the name Job comes to mind. I just feel horrible emotionally, physically and mentally. But here’s the saving grace. Whereas Job’s friends turned on him at his lowest, I have amazing and wonderful friends. I have a friend who will give me wise medical advice on a Sunday evening without going through the switchboard. ("Well, ma'am, I don't know if Dr. X will think it's actually an emergency, but to me it's a matter of life and death.") My husband brought me tea and breakfast in bed this morning. Some dear friends came for the weekend and, I swear, they went through Gary Chapman’s The Languages of Love book and ministered to me in every language. (They brought a beautiful present full of little presents that showed their great insight into who I am and what I love, they spent time with me, they verbally affirmed me, they gave me hugs (and now probably will come down with the Scarlet Fever/Polio virus), and generally served us. Jim and I called our dear friends in France. We didn’t know, but her brother also died recently. In a foreign country. They are grieving over many other intense difficulties, (including possible job loss, and betrayal by close friends), but the four of us were able to laugh together on the phone in spite of it all. Later, I chatted on Gmail chat with another great friend who is recovering from surgery. She’s been through a lot, too, and she said things that made me smile. Life is like raising children. There are so many terrible moments (arguing over getting dressed, diapers, them saying “You’re mean, Mom”, and just the daily drudgery of it all.) But the precious, golden moments make all the rest worthwhile. I can go through losing my mom, my brother, my dog and my appliances, my computer, and my health, as long as I have the Comforter by my side, and good friends to surround me.