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This Would Be a Good Week to Get Sick

“This would be a good week to get sick.”

I distinctly remember saying those words as I drove to church one Sunday morning. I was ticking through all the events and obligations of the upcoming days, and crawling into bed and staying there was a wonderful thought. I could avoid parties and school concerts and deadlines. I could end up under the covers with the sympathy of others. Sickness seemed like the perfect solution to overwhelm.

And yet I also heard the words come out of my mouth and I knew there was something very wrong. I started to wonder whether there was another way. Instead of succumbing to sickness, instead of longing for illness as a way out of stress, what if instead I started to admit that I am a human being with real needs and real limits? What if I started to ask for help? What if I started to say no? What if I started to get enough sleep and care for myself?

I don’t mean in any way to suggest that the only reason people get sick is because they are stressed out or trying to avoid self-care. I do mean to suggest that I got sick regularly for exactly those reasons, and that once I started to see this truth, I didn’t get sick nearly as often. 

I didn’t need to get sick that week. I needed to admit my own vulnerability and neediness, ask for help, say no, and get in bed early with a good book. 

For those of us who, like me, find ourselves welcoming sickness, what if we instead welcomed the invitation to be made well?

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