Last week Ryan was the one who missed school because of the flu. This week was my turn. I'm pretty sure I don't have the flu, but I have had fever, aches, sore throat and my ever-present headaches off and on all week. I took a sick day yesterday, but because of looming deadlines, felt I couldn't afford to miss another minute of work. Loaded up on daytime Theraflu, I made it through today, but I obviously was not at full speed. The most annoying symptom? I just can't catch my breath.
But every time I had to slow down and breathe deeply, I remembered Brad, a friend of a friend who's dealing with a much more serious illness. Shortness of breath is just the latest side effect of his chondrosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer that has spread to his lungs. I'm whining about this oh-so-temporary cold, and he's getting an oxygen machine in his home.
I have been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately, what with the house situation and my stupid headaches. Ever since my father died in 1993, the holidays have made me a little melancholy anyway, and yes, even 15 years later, Christmas just isn't "right" because his baritone voice is missing from our conversations. This general malaise I've felt has led to one massive pity party.
But then I click over to Brad and Jenny's blog, and I see a family faced with this tragic circumstance, this frightening set of knowns and even scarier unknowns. Jenny's words are candid and straightforward, but through all the stories of doctor's visits and experimental treatments, this family holds on to their amazing faith and hope with a supernatural courage. Here are people who get it. They know their time together is precious, and they know Whom they believe.
How's that for a wake-up call? I need to get over myself and appreciate the fact that every day, even a "sick day," is a gift. And we all need to keep praying—now more than ever—for this precious family in Houston that continues to live by faith.