4 Things I Learned from the Flu

This year our country has experienced the worst flu season in more than a decade. Hundreds of thousands of people have suffered through the fever, cough, headache, and muscle pain that characterize this sometimes-deadly disease. Only in this week (Week 19 of the official flu season) have numbers of flu cases finally dropped below the national baseline. 

If you are one of its victims, I extend my deepest sympathy. From my sickbed. 

This has been a bad winter for our family. We’ve been sick a lot, but this eight-day grand finale case of the flu has reminded me of a few life principles. 

1. We are frail creatures. 
Any health and strength we possess is a gift from God. Without him to give us the breath in our lungs, we are undone. 

2. Our bodies are amazing creations. 
Once my doctor ruled out any infection, he pronounced, “Take Motrin and Tylenol for the pain, rest, and within a week or two, you’ll feel as good as new.” 

Whaaaat?! That’s it? Lie there and do nothing? But then I realized that his words were an official vote of confidence attesting to our body’s ability to heal itself. Even medical intervention wouldn’t work without the intricate systems that allow our bodies to kill germs, repair cells, and restore health. 

3. We need each other. 
If it wasn’t for the kind ministrations of my sweet husband who fetched endless glasses of ginger ale; washed countless loads of sheets, towels, and pajamas; and endured my pathetic whimpering, I wouldn’t have survived. 

Compassionate friends and family brought me chicken soup, vegetable soup, and tomato soup. One loaned me her diffuser and selected just the right oils to sweeten the atmosphere in my home. Several overrode my foolish independence and sent meals anyway. Thank you. 

4. Choosing gratitude, even in the midst of suffering, has healing effects. 
One morning in the shower, I lost it. Five days of over 102 degree fever and a non-stop ice pick headache had pushed me to my limit. I sniffled and whimpered for a few minutes as the water poured down my back, but then gratitude trickled in. 

I’m so glad I don’t have a cough along with the headache. That would really be unbearable. I’m thankful I have an understanding boss that isn’t going to fire me for missing work. And friends and family have been so kind to care for me. Where would I be without them? 

By the time I wobbled my way out of the shower, nothing had changed about my situation, but I felt much more encouraged. Instead of grumbly, I felt grateful. 

Yesterday was my first fever-free day, so I think I’m going to live. To all of you who have helped care for a sick family member or friend this winter, God bless you. As you’ve done it unto the least of us, you’ve done it unto Jesus. And he and I are mighty grateful. 

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you . . . sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'” (Mat. 25:37, 39).

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