This week has been nothing short of life changing and it’s all because of the stomach flu. Seven days cooped up in a house with your sick family does that, I suppose. It started with the worst 24 hours of my life and thinking medieval torture might be more enjoyable than what I was experiencing. And then quietly, subtly, as vomiting led to fatigue and bed rest, my thoughts became consumed with what I can only explain as the Holy Spirit’s gentle intervention.
I can’t remember the last time I actually had time for introspection. New Years peaked my interest, but I wasn’t sure how or when I could take time away from my family and work to really process the numbness, pain, joy, and anticipation of life I was experiencing.
Enter stomach flu.
Enter Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.
Enter what I believe is a new beginning.
I don’t know when I became numb. I think after you’ve been hurt enough, if you’re not careful, pain and its subsequent healing can get masked by a quiet lie that convinces you you’re ok again, and life can move on. Problem is, I stopped wanting. I stopped dreaming. I had turned somewhat into a robot version of myself, with real emotions and experiences, pain and triumph… and no dreams.
I am indebted to Donald Miller and his process of discovering story. In writing a screenplay of his memoir Blue Like Jazz, he discovered that his life was too boring to make a movie. Upon further reflection and distinguishing what makes a good story, Miller realizes he is not living a good story. A story occurs when a character wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.
It scared me to realize I didn’t know what I wanted.
Spending a week with a sick toddler ups your parent status. I feel like I’ve truly arrived as a parent now that I have been vomited on and clung to for hours upon days. This flu did something to my family too. My husband and I started praying together again (beyond praying about ministry), dreaming together over interlocked hands of the future of our family… of the story we are writing as a family. The TV gets turned off at night, trips to the zoo are planned, and an hour is spent making barn animal noises with Ellie’s Little People farmhouse.
I prayed in the beginning of this bug for grace. I asked God to turn this burden into a blessing, expecting He would but not knowing how. Seven days later and two pounds lighter I am fatigued, hungry for normal food, and a new woman.
No, everything is not figured out. I haven’t written anything beyond this post, nothing concrete and determined, though I do hope to jot some good notes in my journal of this awakening. I thought I would do so today, but third trimester insomnia left me with four hours of sleep last night and my brain is as fizzy as the orange soda keeping me company this morning.
With that, I’ll say aloha.