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Excused on Account of Illness

Being sick is no fun at all, but being excused from my regular rounds of Things To Do is kind of nice. This particular sickness is somewhat confusing. I’m not actively miserable, just blanketed with a layer of fatigue which denies me the energy to accomplish anything except in short bursts. Oh, and there is the occasional coughing fit. In between the short bursts of almost-normal energy, I sit. Sometimes I sleep, drifting from wakefulness into the top layers of dreaming like a fatigued driver unable to keep track of the lines on the road. In the drift my mind ponders things slowly, like contemplating how to make a dessert quiche which includes elements of bread pudding. Why I chose now to plan quiche is something of a mystery, but it is restful and fatigue has interfered with my ability to question. Perhaps later in the day I’ll use one of my bursts of energy to see if reality matches the quiche of my imagination.

In some ways the lassitude which has overcome me feels like the calm drifting I did in early June. In my less lethargic moments, this makes me wonder if I am just being lazy, finding an excuse to lay on the couch and think of nothing in particular. Then the energy passes, or a coughing fit hits, and I know that the fatigue is physiological rather than psychological. I do ponder how good it feels to drift. It is as if I can only comprehend the pressures which I daily place on myself by their absence. This is not surprising news. I have been trying to give myself permission to relax more often, but unlike fictional characters, I don’t complete my character arc and move on. Instead the shapes of my habits and personality send me circling around like Winnie the Pooh in the misty woods, always ending up at the same sand pit. Like Pooh, it often takes me awhile to realize that it is the same pit, because things look different from this side. Yet Pooh did not stay in the woods forever, and neither will I. Each iteration teaches me something new until I finally find my way to a new adventure. Five years from now our lives will inevitably have a very different shape. The things I am doing now, that we all are doing, will make that future a good place to be.

Sometime last week Kiki was having a particularly difficult day, wrestling with problems which no one else could solve for her. After all the listening, hugs, and outpouring of my thoughts on conflict management; the most important thing I said to her was “I know this feels huge right now, but I promise that in the scope of your whole life this will become small.” If I could only keep this thought in mind, then each day could be filled with more of the calm, faithful drift which this sickness has imposed. Today I haven’t the energy to feel stressed about what I’m unable to do. Instead I focus on the few things I can. So I answer a few emails, then I nap. I ponder quiche, then I pick up my kids from school. I sleep and then read. Next week I will have to catch up on things not done today, and I will, but for today I drift.

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