Monday, December 26, 2011

A Merry Christmas with the Flu

I just spent the past 48 hours fighting the nastiest flu bug I've ever had.

It. has. been. brutal.

It was my first ever Christmas spent in bed. It was depressing at first, but reading this post on my phone while crying my eyes out in misery was extremely moving & beneficial. After that I was able to keep things in a better perspective, and in my moments of lucidity, I prayed, reflected, and sought after time with Christ as my only solace and source of strength. 

It’s okay to feel alone at Christmas. It’s okay to feel out of place and out of sorts. It’s okay to be depressed. But I want you to know that you are special. Because of a common Savior who has come as a baby, you belong. You belong right where you are. You are NOT a foreigner. You are not alone. You are part of a community and you are illumined.    ~Sarah Markley, (in)courage

It's the first time that all of our real Christmas celebrations were prior to Christmas, not on the actual day.  It had gotten pretty crazy for a while there, and I was really longing for more simplicity, but once Christmas came and we both got sick... it suddenly felt so strange to be doing nothing. Going nowhere. Spending time with no one. Tim cleaning up my puke (God bless him!). 

I'd been planning to make it all very special for Tim & I, but alas, that didn't happen. 

Things happen, plans change, and I have a hard time letting go of the what-would-have-been. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me give you the background of our Christmas story this year....

I spent Black Friday shopping by myself as Tim was sick with a nasty cold, buying as many gifts as possible, knowing that my friend's wedding would take up a lot of time and I wanted to be there for her, so I bought gifts as early as possible. 

We enjoyed parties with coworkers and friends, and then lots of preparing for my friend's wedding. Much as I love her, I'm confident I never want to help plan another Christmastime wedding in my life! ;) Too crazy busy.

We left our house Tuesday afternoon and drove a few hours south to our friends Jason & Anna's house where we got to finally rehash memories of their wedding in April, and really got some good quality time with them, which we absolutely cherish. Wednesday morning we drove the remaining couple of hours to my hometown where we immediately were thrown into a whirlwind of activity with my family, which was wonderful on so many levels. I'll go into more detail in another post. The short version is that we had an amazing time and it was really, really special. I'm so thankful that we had a great time before anybody got sick!

Friday about 3 a.m. while still at my mom's house, Tim came down with the flu (or a stomach virus, or whatever you want to refer to it as...) and was miserable, stayed in bed for the first 20 hours or so, moved to the couch, and got lots of rest. Saturday about 2 p.m. we decided he was well enough to make the trek back home although still weak so I drove the whole way (not a big deal, but when we're together, Tim's just always the driver). 

We got home about 7:30 and had dinner while my body was freaking out. The adrenaline from the week had worn off, my body was stiff & sore from the drive, and I was feeling a bit "off" but couldn't put my finger on it. By 10 I clearly had the flu too. Thankfully I got a lot of good, solid sleep that night, but 10 the next morning the flu reared its ugly head in full force the entire day. I was between bed and the bathroom all day. I faced a raging headache as the day went on, my first day in a long time with no caffeine and it was torture not to be able to take some Ibuprofen (for fear of not being able to keep it in me)! I tossed & turned a lot overnight, just as a result of my body screaming in pain from laying in bed so much (and not having taken 2 doses of my pain medication). 

The pain flare-ups have been nearly unbearable. 

I woke up this morning feeling a bit better, although still quite exhausted and weak, and only eating a minimal amount (crackers, dry bread, rice, Gatorade). I've been in the recliner today, sitting propped up, snuggled under a very special blanket, watching movies, working on this post on and off all day, watching hubby wrap the last of the presents for his family, and enjoying down time with hubby (which includes him playing with his ridiculous toy helicopter he got from his mom for Christmas, attempting to fly it, and running it into e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Some serious duck and cover happening here!!). Wanting to finish up belated Christmas cards, sort pictures from the past few weeks, update calendars, unpack, do the rest of the laundry Tim didn't get done yesterday (he's so amazing!), etc etc, but I just haven't had the energy.

In the midst of cancelled plans, nothing special on Christmas Day and no family time, I've had a lot of time to think, pause, and reflect on our Savior's birth. Thankfully today we were able to watch our church's Christmas Eve service online (if you'd like to watch it too, you can! Check it out here! - or check this video out too as something leading up to that service). We'd really been looking forward to attending, but given Tim's being sick through Saturday morning, we postponed leaving until we knew whether or not he could make the trip, so we got home later than originally planned. Not a big deal, but it was really nice to be able to watch the full service, with worship and everything. It was very powerful and we're so thankful!

It all could have been so different. We could have spent Christmas Eve at church surrounded by loved ones, worshiping with friends, greeting others and shouting out Merry Christmas amidst cheers and glee. We could have driven around to see some lights. We could have spent the evening reading of Christ's birth (which we still did), reflecting on the year together, watching Christmas movies, and making a late night of it despite having already "opened" our gift to each other earlier this year (our treadmill). We could have woken up on Christmas morning to immediately getting in our stockings in our usual excited giddiness, sharing a special Christmas breakfast, joining up with his family for lunch and presents, taking in The War Horse at the theatre as we'd hoped (despite that I wish theatres weren't open on Christmas Day, since they are we sometimes admittedly take in one if the timing is right), and relaxing in the evening to some more Christmas movies at home. We could have had lunch today with our dear friends Brian & Monica, and spoiled Parker with an onslaught of gifts we've just been dying to give him! We could have had dinner today with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Chicago followed by going to see the Lincoln Park Zoo lights with them, something we've always wanted to do but never have. (This is the family we spent time with in California back in May when we went to my cousin's college graduation in Santa Barbara as part of our 11 year anniversary trip.)

There's a lot of could-have-beens. But God had other plans. And I trust him in that, despite that it was hard. Even in illness, God knows best and has a plan. For reasons we may not fully understand, it was time to set all those other things aside and focus on rest, getting well, and focusing more completely on Him.

It really can be so easy to fly through the busyness of the season without stopping to really focus on our Savior's birth. Today as I was feeling a bit sad about the lack of time with Tim's family and alone/non-sick, vacation time with Tim this holiday season (including Thanksgiving since Tim was sick that day too - so unusual, he rarely gets sick!), this Matthew West song really helped pull me back into the right perspective today.

Happy Day after Christmas! (And yeah that after serious pain & exhaustion I still got this posted before midnight, woohoo!!)  

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