In Sickness and in Health
Sara: After heading to my parents’ house several hours away for Easter, both Justin and I returned home with sore throats. Every year, I seem to have a sore throat around the “weather change” portion of the year, so I didn’t think much of my sore throat or Justin’s complaints.
On Wednesday, Justin started saying (in a whiny voice), “I’m sick.” Honestly, since my throat hurt a bit too, I didn’t have any sympathy for him. Basically, my response was to tell him to suck it up and deal with it. A response, I might add, that I’m not too proud of now.
Thursday, Justin’s sore throat was worse, and he actually left work early because he felt so badly. He said he felt like he needed to teach his classes, and thus couldn’t take a sick day. In the nearly four years I’ve known Justin, he had yet to take a sick day (other than for an injured back) or even leave work early claiming to be sick. As I put in a thirteen hour day on Thursday, plus commute time, I still didn’t have much sympathy for him.
Finally, on Friday, I began to realize just how sick Justin was. I felt badly for not believing him sooner, and worked to nurse him back to health, unfortunately after he was pretty much well.
On Sunday, it was Justin’s turn to take care of me. I may have mentioned Mass is really hard for me these days, especially if it’s hot. I’ve taken to wearing the least amount of clothing possible most places (obviously always keeping modesty in mind), especially if I know I’m going to be in a crowd. We went to Mass at our local Newman Center, where Justin is faculty advisor. Before Mass, we went into the chapel about fifteen to twenty minutes early to pray together. Unfortunately, the chapel slowly became warmer and warmer as more and more people filed in. The chapel was converted from a garage, so neither the heating or cooling system is ideal.
As the Gospel was being read, I realized I was getting too warm. I was grateful to sit down during Father’s homily, but I didn’t have much energy to concentrate on his words. All I could think about was the fact I still had half of Mass to finish!
So, I humbly sat down for part of Mass instead of kneeling or standing, and fanned myself with our pew card. A kind soul brought me a glass of water to drink which also helped me not faint during Mass.
As I ponder our “in sickness” portion of our vows, I realize that both of these situations could have been less severe with better communication between Justin and me. For instance, when I hear a whiny voice saying, “I’m sick” I think the person is simply asking for sympathy. Since Justin isn’t often sick, he isn’t a very good sick person. I like to think that had he explained better that he was feeling ill (instead of whining), I would be more sympathetic.
Had I explained to Justin as we were headed into the notoriously warm chapel early that I was worried about overheating, perhaps I would have been able to be more prayerful through a larger portion of Mass. In the end, both of our “sickness” this past week led us to realize how important it is to communicate with each other. After our child leaves my womb, I’m certain it will become even more vital to have good communication.