Today I called in sick. I wasn’t faking it; I really am sick. It’s like my allergies all waited to hit at the same time rather than slowly spreading the attack over the winter season. I am extremely grateful for my company benefits that enable me to sleep half the day and wish I could sleep the other half, and still get paid.
It didn’t take long for it to occur to me today that this is one of the first times I’ve ever been sick alone. When I lived with my parents, my mom always took care of me. When I was in the dorm, I always had friends and roommates nearby who did what they could to comfort me. Today, however, I am alone. My boyfriend is at work and my friends are doing what they do. I’ve got my cat Laney, who is happy that I am able to spend the day with her, but she’s no good at making me chicken noodle soup.
Being home alone today has given me an opportunity to see my home in a way I rarely do. I lay in bed this morning while the sun rose in my south-facing bedroom window. I made the bed in the guest room while the birds danced outside. I am typing this column as my cat sits next to the living room window, dying to catch the birds at the feeder just outside. This feels different than a Saturday. It’s different to know that the country is at work today, earning a paycheck, and I am here, wadding Kleenex. The only thing on television is bad talk shows and Judge Judy.
Watching the world this way, through my sinus-purple eyes on this spectacularly gorgeous winter day, is somehow very spiritual for me. As I sit here, the world is going on around me. A bird just dove from the feeder to the ground; maybe he saw a worm. Every so often I hear the train go by less than a mile away. I called to check in at work at 9:45 this morning and was relieved that they were doing fine without me, but uneasy to see how expendable I am. The world doesn’t even notice my absence, and only my neighbor June noticed my unusual presence at home on a work day.
I am humbled that I am so insignificant in the world. I feel about as meaningful as the birds outside that Laney chases. It is easy to feel as if your daily activities are more important than someone else’s, but the truth is that they’re not. In the big picture, you are just one of billions.
But Jesus said in Luke 12:6, 7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” I am thankful that my God has not forgotten me on this day. I am also amazed that God has not forgotten a single one of those sparrows. Balance is difficult to find, but when I feel as if my life doesn’t matter, I remember that God knows each sparrow; and when I feel as if I’m actually important to the world, I need to remember this day when the world went on without me.
The truth of my significance is in there somewhere, but what remains constant through it all is God’s love for me. How magnificent is our God who watches the activity and bustling every day and holds it all in his palm. As I sit here alone today, sick, wishing my mommy would make me soup, God has not forgotten me.
And actually, the world hasn’t either. Three people texted me from work to see if I was OK. How wonderful that so many people care and offer their support when I am sick.