I wasn’t excited when it started in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon.
I was even less excited when it was worse the next morning. The tight collar of pain behind my swollen tonsils. A sore throat so debilitating I couldn’t even speak.
Not now, I thought. I have so much to do.
With book publication just a few weeks away, deadlines are rushing toward me and the workload is piling up. Now is when I have to get sick?
I got home from the doctor’s office, diagnosed with a vague viral infection, and plunked down on the swing in the backyard. Drained. Weary. The medical advice sheet read: “Your body needs plenty of rest and quiet time.”
Rock back, forth. No energy even to get up and go to bed. Back, forth. The sun shone warm on my face, relaxing my skin, closing my eyes.
Sickness has a way of calling off life. Suddenly all responsibilities are shuffled down in importance, secondary to regaining health and energy. It reminds you, forces you, to stop and notice.
Notice the puff of a dandelion suffused with autumn sun.
Notice the falling leaves, yellow as summer peaches.
Notice the “breath of heaven” heather, and remember why it’s called that.
Book publishing is full of deadlines–exciting, rewarding, stimulating deadlines, but sometimes I’ve gotten so caught up in the to-do list that I’ve forgotten to take time to just stop and notice.
And noticing is the foundation stone of so many things: thankfulness (particularly in focus this month), rest, and writing–what book publishing is really about. Writing comes from words, and words come from noticing.
And so having huge tonsils, which felt like a frustrating setback, led to some forcible, sweet rest. Time to sit still. To let the sunshine play over my hands and enjoy the warmth. To hear a tiny bird sing, close enough to touch. To keep the doctor’s orders, true whether we’re sick or well: your body needs plenty of rest and quiet time.
So, perhaps, does your soul.