I got a case of something this weekend—maybe the flu, maybe something else—that I was pretty sure was going to be the end of me. Not hyperbole either. The day started out in a tent in a room in my house. I had set up the tent for my visiting nephews to have a “campout” because having a “campout” is cooler than telling them I didn’t have enough beds for both them and their mother. In the tent as the three of us began shaking off a restless night, my younger nephew Eli said, “I’m sure gonna miss you, Uncle Matt.”
I thought it was a kind comment from a sweet three year old, and then I started throwing up. On about round six the comment came back into my head as predictive, a last word from a diminutive prophet.
Spoiler alert, I didn’t die, but boy did I feel like death. I threw up nine times, had a crazy fever and strange sudden chills. I made a few comments that ended up chasing the guests from our home because, in the words of one of my visiting sisters, “We tried to talk with you but you weren’t making any sense.”
I recall in one part of the day-long saga begging my wife for just a drink of water. I wanted water so badly—I was so thirsty—yet she and I both knew what the consequences would be.
I took some medicine. And kept it down and was allowed a swallow of ginger ale. It was glorious. Then I threw it all up. And I tried the medicine again, knowing that if it didn’t work this time, I was going to have to go to the doctor.
Praying silent prayers to return to normal, the medicine took and I began to slowly re-hydrate my body.
Sunday was a blur, and today has been a bit woozy, but I’m feeling better with each minute, moving from illness to normalcy, a thing so often taken for granted.
The difference between where I was Saturday and where I am now is incredible. One forgets about how bad life can get—and how quick it can get there—until he finds himself sprawled on a bathroom floor, sore from retching.
And what hit me through all this is the difference between that weak, sick version of me and the healthy, sound version of myself is immense. But that difference doesn’t even begin to do justice to the difference between me at my healthiest and soundest and the me that will be eternally redeemed someday. At some point sickness will dissipate and pain will fade, and all that will be left is total flourishing fullness.
Through my short-lived sickness, I was reminded of lasting hope and how the good things of the present (like health and nourishment) are mere shadows of the greatness to come.