Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Love and Sickness

I had every intention of reviewing The Book of Love: A Treasury Inspired By The Greatest of Virtues by Fr. Andrew M. Greeley and his sister Mary C. Durkin for Valentine's Day, but real-life love got in the way.

David and I have been alternating sick time for the past week and a half. He was out of school last Monday through Wednesday. He still had some lingering effects Thursday and Friday while I was starting my sick event but we both managed to make our way to school and work. By Friday night, I was dragging and went to bed early. Saturday, I could barely get out of bed and spent most of the day on the couch. Sunday, I couldn't even get out of bed. I don't think I have ever actually had the flu before, at least not in many many years. (Memo to self - get a flu shot next year!) Everything hurt and simply lifting my head off the pillow made me feel like I was going to pass out. Thankfully my husband and sister (who lives with us) were around to care for the kids on Sunday. My fever broke late Sunday afternoon and I was able to get out of bed and begin recuperating. Yesterday, I was back to being Mommy, although definitely a slower-moving version of Mommy.

Unfortunately, David woke up last night at 3 am with a stomach flu, and he spent most of today on the couch sleeping, although tonight he was feeling better. Hopefully, we all will get a full night sleep tonight. This is vacation week from school so we have all week to recuperate, although spending vacation sick is no one's idea of fun.

So, anyway, getting back to "The Book of Love." Greeley and Durkin created an anthology of readings on all the different types of love there are in the world. They write "when we are mindful of love's possibilities, good things happen. We have a hint of what it means to be real." From young passionate love to married love to the love we have for our children to love between friends and the love of senior citizens, the readings tug at the heartstrings and make you reflect on the gift of love in our own lives. I've wiped away more than a few tears while reading these pages. While I doubt anyone would find all the readings applicable, the beauty of a lengthy anthology is that you can pick and choose what you want to read and still come away from the experience very satisfied.

Real love is so multi-faceted, and it is sometimes during sickness that it shows it deepest colors. The care of a mother for a sick child is something so primal. Instinct just takes over. And as I lay sick in bed, I couldn't help wishing that my own mother was here to take care of me. We all need love when we are sick, someone to care for us when we simply can't take care of ourselves. Yes, love is all the wonderful things that poets and songwriters write about, but it is also (and perhaps more so) faithfulness in the darkest hours.

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