I thought I could fight it; the sniffles and scratchy throat and occasional cough that’s been annoying me for a week or so leading up to this highly-anticipated Christmas trip. When I realized I couldn’t fight it off, I thought I could hide it, and I did for a while. Kind of. Sam knows me too well – he kept asking me what was wrong. He knows that in a situation like we had on Friday, with the entire family together and my kids and grandkids there, I should be not just joyful but bubbly, on the edge of giddy. Instead I was quietly happy, spending a lot of time just listening to others talk. (Most definitely not like me!)
But, come Christmas Eve, the hiding became more difficult as the day went on. By mid-afternoon, the occasional cough had turned into a hacking bark (or a barking hack – which is it?) and my voice was almost gone. We went to a candlelight service at 5:00 p.m. and I couldn’t sing the carols, which was so sad for me. I just kind of whispered along. I know God didn’t care, and I closed my eyes and tried to really think about the meaning of the songs. Christmas carols are so beautiful, and another of those things that is are so familiar that we can miss the meaning unless we get deliberate about searching for it.
After the service we intended to go to Giordanno’s for our traditional Christmas Eve pizza. This is a fairly new tradition but one that I am working hard to establish strongly, as Giordanno’s is the best pizza on earth and is not available in Omaha, so I can only get it when we come home to IL. Even then, it’s a 1/2 hour, maybe 45 minute drive to find it, so it’s a big deal, but so worth it. So you will understand that I was really feeling sick when I asked to skip Giordanno’s and go home and call in a pizza. From Pizza Hut no less. (Which ended up not being open, but that’s another story.)
And this morning, Christmas morning, we had the traditional breakfast that goes back years and years. My dear, sweet mother spends days preparing, making homemade buns, cinnamon rolls (with and without nuts, because there are two factions in the family) cherry bread and of course lefse – cinnamon and gjetost (the making of which is a family affair and I will write about soon.) Plus a huge bowl of fruit salad, scrambled eggs and I don’t know what else. Egg nog, juice, coffee… I can’t remember. Anyway, I sat at the table, picked at some eggs and a cinnamon roll (even if I can’t smell and can hardly taste and have no appetite, Mom’s cinnamon rolls are not to be missed!) and then excused myself and went to sleep. Remember, I rode eight plus hours on a bus – overnight- to be there for exactly this day.
And now, I am on a bus again, riding overnight back to Omaha. As I continue my sneezing, nose-blowing, and hacking, I am the least popular person on the bus. Seats near us are conspicuously empty. And I must admit that the idea of riding in a bus all night feeling like this is not exactly appealing. I was kind of complaining about it tonight, just mentally (I’ve gotten better at keeping my mouth shut… sometimes) and the thought came to me: This comfortable, heated bus with electric outlets and wifi (for the laptop I’m currently blogging on) is a whole lot better than a journey of several days by foot and donkey. And travelling with a bad cold/upper respiratory whatever is a lot less difficult than travelling (on a donkey) at the absolute end of pregnancy, and in fact going into labor during the trip. Trying to get some sleep in the bus seat may not be perfect, but it’s luxury compared to giving birth in a filthy barn full of animals and straw and manure and feed, and having no other place to rest afterward.
I think that I am so blessed that I’m spoiled. A little discomfort, a little trial and I think it’s so much to have to handle. While we were visiting with my parents during this trip, we talked about what life was like when they were young. No electricity, washing clothes on a washboard and hanging them outside in the dead of winter, hard labor morning till night. I think it’s a tragedy when the DVR misses a show I want to see.
So I’m going to praise God for all the blessings – this warm comfortable bus, a computer and a Kindle to keep me occupied if I can’t sleep, the wonderful family time I just had, my beloved husband who takes such good care of me – and shut up already with the complaining. Even if it is just in my head.
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19b, 20