My husband came home from a trip overseas with a wild and wonderful infection that resulted in painful blisters and red spots on his hands, feet, knees, chest, back and inside his mouth. After sitting together in emergency for seven hours, we came home with little understanding of what the next few days would look like but we were told that this virus was “highly contagious.”
Having never thought about the privilege of living in a country where I don’t regularly think about contagions, I had no idea how my life would change for the next few days.
But reality hit hard.
I started with blowing a good night kiss to my husband when we arrived home at 1:00 am. and then slept in a second bedroom.
The next morning, I woke up early, slipped into surgical gloves and started cleaning.
You know how you don’t think about how wonderful it is that your baby finger or big toe works until you break it? You don’t stop and think about the freedom you experience with a healthy body until you get a painful splinter or a back spasm or a horrendous cold or a broken limb. Well, I was about to be reminded of the simplicity of my life on a day-to-day basis when all is well and there is no contagious virus lurking in the house.
Separate towels in the kitchen.
Doing all the household chores while Chris recuperated from both the overseas flight and the virus.
No hugging. No kissing. No touching.
Wearing slippers at all times.
Cancelling social engagements.
Wiping door knobs.
Keeping my distance from friends and family.
I learned very quickly that it’s impossible to live this way – and eventually, I surrendered to “what will be will be.”
But I also paid attention to how I was feeling and what I was thinking those days. I became increasingly more thankful and more verbal about what God has given me, rather than focusing on the virus. And interesting enough, cleaning and long days no longer were an inconvenience or frustration.
After a trip to the specialist, we learned that Chris was no longer contagious and of course, we were relieved to hear this encouraging news. It was good to be hugged. However, when we returned home, I found some quiet moments and alone space to focus on gratitude, review my attitude and be honest with myself and with my heavenly Father.
I am thankful for the Examen – a simple prayer that St. Ignatius Loyola developed for the purpose of nurturing a reflective habit of mind that is constantly attuned to God’s presence. I had been practising this prayer for a few weeks so when this virus hit our home, I was more prepared and more willing to “see God in all things.”
I’m not much of a complainer in the worst of times but learning to take note of how I am truly feeling has been so informative, often comforting, sometimes disturbing but always a good way of going through my days.
I am learning to be thankful for all of life.
Spotted husband included.