The fevers have broken! Kind of like morning breaking… only brighter and with a worse taste lingering in our mouths. What is that, anyway? The entire inside of one cheek is all bumpy and gross feeling and I couldn’t figure out why until I spat in the sink this morning (you’re not eating while you read this, are you?) and was startled to find purple juices running towards the drain. Then I remembered dealing with a persistent sore throat in the night with a grape flavored Jolly Rancher, which solved both mysteries and reminded me why I always opt for watermelon in these situations — it just looks more natural in the sink.
Some smarty pants out there is thinking, Author, surely you know the difference between a throat lozenge and a piece of candy. To which I politely, if not stuffily, reply, yes I do. One works, and one doesn’t, and I have chosen the better part. At least my cough drop admits it is nothing but sugar. Halls wishes it had achieved that level of maturity and self awareness.
(Side note: speaking of self awareness, I have a vague, very fever-tinged memory of having posted something yesterday, while out of my head toasty… I wouldn’t have actually cranberry shamed my readers, though, would I? Nah. Must have been a dream.)
I suppose everyone feels strongly about their cold remedies. As I walk slowly through the house, I see our treatment plans with fresh eyes, as they remain scattered across the floor:
- All chairs piled high with blankets and stuffed animals, turned to face I Love Lucy reruns.
- Wet washclothes (which are super fun to step on while wearing socks when the fevered soul lets them slip to the ground).
- Capri Sun pouches (like Pedialyte but tastes better and has the added benefit of a cute straw).
- A counter full of meds of every shape and size (I don’t know why I never thought about standing on the corner outside my house and selling this stuff back when we needed ready cash for the Beloved’s teeth — I could have made a killing).
- Tea bags (I don’t know why they are saved on the counter. You might reuse a tea bag in peace time, but cross contamination rules preclude ever touching a thing that 4.5 minutes later was to be handed to someone with a runny nose).
- Cereal bowls. I have a lot to say on this one.
See, growing up, we did not have cereal for breakfast. Cereal was rarely in the house, and if it was, it functioned as a treat food, as dessert (part of that could be because we only ever had skim milk. I didn’t even know people drank milk on purpose until I was about 16 years old). This is probably a key component to my underlying assumptions about cereal to this day — namely, cereal is comfort food. Cereal is for feeling better, not for nutrition.
I have been told that this is ironic, that I, who enjoy baking and have a historical bent towards the ridiculous in my culinary efforts, when the chips are down, gravitate towards the most boring, highly processed, uncreative food there is.
I not only love eating cereal, it is one of the only really persnickety areas of my life, one of the only places that you could be intending me a kindness and I might struggle not to blanch or scream or both (this, and the temperature of coffee. I really hate lukewarm coffee and have sometimes wondered if Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not a well-intentioned helper who dawdled in the hall with his morning coffee, thus causing him to bite his tongue every day rather than lash out. Just a theory). The ratio of milk to cereal is important, and time is of the essence. Soggy cereal is an abomination. And unlike some people I am married to who find the sugary milk at the bottom to be unadulterated bliss to slurp down after the cereal has been disappeared, I am a believer in 1 to 1 ratios of milk to cereal, and if there is milk leftover, it is not a call to drink it — it is a call to GET MORE CEREAL! This, you understand, can become a bit cyclical if you are not awfully careful in the pouring, because if you over-replenish the cereal, then you have to add a little more milk, and the next thing you know, your Quail are staring you with betrayal written across their young faces because you finished off the last of the frosted Cheerios.
You know… hypothetically.
As I crawl back to the land of the living today, and return to doing my own dishes and generally behaving like an upright human being (and I do mean literally), I find myself thinking on God’s blessings. It will take time to rid the house of every last vestige of sickness, but it is undeniable that God has been kind to this family. This sort of thing used to land us in the hospital every single time. Now it lands us in cereal and Motrin.
And just to be clear — He could take us back there again.
God does not owe us good health. We have not “paid our dues” and now are entitled to skate. We are to go where He leads, without grumbling. If He leads us into darkness where the air itself is thick with grief, then Lord fill up our lungs when the air is fresh, that we might hold out the note of praise until we can draw a deep breath again. If He brings our feet into wide open spaces, if He establishes us on firm foundations, then may we sing the praises we learned in the dark, and sing them with a light heart, knowing that He has done it. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord — and if He gives you no breath to spare, then sing breathless. Let nothing keep you from giving the King the glory He so richly deserves.