The 2 year old got me up about 6:30 Saturday morning. Which is pretty normal, but I was not ready to face the day yet. I bribed him with Cheerios and Paw Patrol and lay on the sofa next to him trying to will myself back to sleep.
I could not go back to sleep.
Instead I slowly began to realize that something was not right with me. Something was definitely brewing inside my body and it wanted out.
After the diarrhea I thought okay, that’s fine. I’ll feel better now and go on with my day. No biggie.
Within 20 minutes I was back in the bathroom, vomiting this time. Again, ever the optimist, I thought I’ll probably still be able to go pick up the big boys at 9:15 and run our errands. But just in case, I texted my parents, who had the big boys, and told them I wasn’t quite feeling well.
Mind over matter apparently wasn’t working that day as I spent more time in the bathroom than anywhere else in the house. When I wasn’t in the bathroom I was laying or sitting somewhere staring at a wall in a “I can’t possibly be a functional adult today” kind of way. The big boys stayed with my parents, and the little one split his time between me, my father in law, and eventually my parent’s house too.
Hour after hour the vomiting and diarrhea continued. It got to be a predictable pattern—disgustingly unpleasant—but at least predictable. This is my life now. This is all I do now. It was as though I had mentally succumbed to a fate of perpetual stomach flu and didn’t even have the capacity to care anymore.
At one point, the 2 year old followed me into the bathroom. As I knelt before the toilet emptying the depths of my soul, I dimly became aware of him saying over and over “light…light…light” and I began to feel the tapping of something hard on my head and shoulders. My son is hitting me with a plastic lightsaber while I’m throwing up. Yes, this is my life now. When I finally got a moment of clarity, I realized he was not intentionally hitting me, he was trying to flip the light switch—with the lightsaber, no less—and failing miserably. Good times…
So I obviously survived the bug or whatever it was. By late afternoon I finally started holding down some fluids although they didn’t remotely make up for what I’d lost. My parents generously allowed the big boys to remain overnight there again—one less thing for me to worry about. That evening I kept telling myself how much better I was going to feel on Sunday and how much I’d be able to get done. Sunday came and I was so weak. I could barely walk up and down the stairs. It was disappointing.
The whole weekend was disappointing actually. I had so much I wanted to get done to help prepare me for this week. This week I not only have a garage sale 7am Saturday morning to prep for, but I also volunteered to make “under the sea” themed sugar cookies for the Art Fair at the school Friday night. All this in addition to just the normal work/life tightrope I walk.
But you know what? It’s going to be okay. I’m going to do my best with what I’ve got, and I’m going to be grateful for the things that are going right. For example, the amazing help I got from my parents and father in law on Saturday. That was probably the difference between me being sick for 1 day, versus being over-stressed and extending the illness. Also, no one else got sick! Hooray! If there is one thing I hate worse than vomiting, it’s having to clean up someone else’s vomit. Ick.
For everything else this week I just have to surrender my expectations. For the cookies—I’ll do my best to make them look cute-ish, and life will go on. For the garage sale—I’ll put out what I can put out, and what I don’t get to I don’t get to. Simple enough. The laundry that I already know won’t get put away, well I’ll just make the kids wear those clothes again so they don’t need to be put away. If I have to send my kids to school with store-made granola bars for snack instead of the homemade ones I had planned—they’ll be just as happy.
And for the things that truly seem to go wrong this week, like me being violently ill and losing two days of productivity, I’m determined to look for the ways they can be redeemed. While I was sick on Saturday I kept trying to pray for God to show me what I needed to learn from the experience. I don’t like the thought of the weekend being wasted. Maybe it wasn’t spent the way I had planned, but I refuse to say it was entirely bad or useless. So here is what I was reminded of this weekend while I was staring at walls in between bathroom trips:
- I should really be thankful for days when I’m healthy and able to do what I want.
- I should find ways to take better care of myself so that I don’t needlessly get sick.
- I should continually reprioritize so that I keep focused on only the most important things in life. I will never get to everything I think I need to do, but I can see to my highest priorities and stop worrying about the rest.
- My highest priority should be obedience to what I’ve been called to do.
- I should continue to always look for the good in my circumstances, because that’s where I’ll recognize God working.
So I don’t think it was some ground-breaking earth-shattering revelation of a weekend. However, despite my disappointment in how it turned out I can still thank God for the good in it. Maybe my circumstances are the encouragement someone else needed to hear. Or maybe it was just a good reminder for me that I can’t (and shouldn’t try) to do it all alone. But sometimes these little lessons and reminders are all we need to keep moving forward in a God-honoring way.
And sometimes, just maybe sometimes, God has put someone in your life who is trying to help you see things more clearly and positively. But maybe it’s possible that you are disregarding them because they are annoyingly clumsy about it and wielding a plastic lightsaber. Word of advice: don’t disregard people wielding lightsabers–it’s better to just help them help you and be done with it.
PS- if you’re wondering why my husband wasn’t around to hold my hair back while I was sick it’s because he’s away for a couple months of military duty. He’s actually a very good nursemaid when he’s home. And an excellent vomit cleaner upper.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for reminders of our own vulnerability so we lean more fully on you. Thank you for the support system you have given me and my family. Thank you for providing for our needs even sometimes before we know to ask you.
Lord, thank you for designing our bodies in such a way that the organs somehow know what to do to get rid of the bad stuff. Our bodies fight hard and reprioritize energies to make sure that pathogens are purged. Let us do the same for our mental, spiritual, and emotional selves. Let us recognize what is plaguing us or damaging us and turn our focus to finding healing in that area. Lord, please give convictions where they are due so that these problems do not become festering wounds. Lord, you are the Master Healer so please heal what needs healing in our lives. Give us the humility to accept such healing.
Lord, thank you for my weekend of weakness. Thank you for the reminders you pressed onto my heart—please let me keep hold of the lessons so that you don’t make remind me of them again anytime soon. Lord, please show me what I can do to serve you better. I have vague dreams of what you may call me to, but I don’t know how to get there. Please give me patience to take each step as you show it to me, even if that step looks like just another regular day doing nothing extraordinary. Lord, thank you for being a good God who is in all circumstances. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
One thought on “The bright side of vomit”
I’m thankful to have someone in my life that reminds me to be thankful in all circumstances. And thankful to be surrounded with folks that are able and willing to step into the mess and lend a hand. Not everyone has family or friends they can call on.