I've been in bed for three days with all three of my girls.
We all caught some nasty cold/flu thing that manifests itself in fevers, chills, runny nose, achy joints, lingering cough and bad headache. For me, it was a two-day migraine.
Giada has been coughing up a lung. Meilani has been almost hallucinating - talking in her sleep and having strange dreams. Now the baby is sweltering hot.
It's been one word: miserable.
Apparently, this one has been making it's way around the small city of Pignon where we live in rural Haiti. I've heard of other missionary friends who have struggled with it, Haitian friends who have it and some of our team members last week caught it too. It's a bad one.
When I'm sick, I just want to complain. I just want an extra large Jamba Juice served up on a platter to drink while I have my own pity party.
I hate being sick. I hate missing out on life. I hate being sick even more when it's the middle of summer in rural Haiti. But I have learned that whenever I am sick it's usually an opportunity for me to slow down, seek God and uncover some hidden gift or lesson.
This time was no exception.
Our friends, Tanner and Stacey Munro, and their kids just arrived Wednesday. I have been so excited for them to be with us. I love to host friends and teams in Haiti. Unfortunately, I haven't been very much of a hostess. I've been lying under our mosquito net watching bugs fly around my head and trying to comfort my whiny girls.
I am humbled.
Last night I dragged my achy body out of bed to get out the ingredients out for dinner. Thankfully, Bev Damm is still here and Stacey helped her pull together the meal. (You know this mama is down and out when I can't even get up to cook!)
But today, I hit the wall. I was so sick of being sick. I really started to lose it. Meilani and Giada had climbed into bed with me. "Mama, can you sing to us?" came a small voice.
Singing was about the last thing I felt like doing but I started in. My voice was raspy and off-key. I just knew it. Still, the girls wanted me to sing. I sang. Soon it became a precious time of worship with our Lord. And there we were - the three of us in the bed singing at the top of our lungs, despite fevers and drippy noses. The words came, "It is Well. It is Well. With. My Soul."
This song has come to mean so much to our family as we discovered this year the history behind its creation. The song was written by Chicago lawyer Horatio Spafford in the midst of his darkest hour after losing everything.
The tears started streaming as we sang that song and I realized again where we were. The fact is, I had it easy even when I was sick. I had a mosquito net overhead. I had a nice box of kleenex all the way from the States. I had hot honey water for my girls and any kind of medicine I needed at my disposal. I had a comfortable bed and pillow to rest my sore head. I had a blanket. I had a flushing toilet and running water nearby. I even had friends and a loving husband willing to serve me. I had so much in a place where people have so little.
There was really no room for complaining.
Almost an hour later, my husband emerged from a meeting with our laypreachers. I heard him say, "Can you pray for my family?" And then a whole circle of Haitian friends were quickly assembled around our bedroom window. They started singing too. Their prayers poured over us like a refreshing afternoon rain.
I found it again - that deep sense of joy springing from hardship. The perfect medicine for my sick heart.