When I was ten years old I had viral pneumonia. I was out of school for a whole month as we fought this disease. Two things from this experience have always stuck in my memory. One, the horrible taste of the drops I had to put in the back of my throat - smelled and tasted like vomit. I kind of think it was, because it looked like it too. I'm not sure what the drug was, or what it was supposed to do, but I sure remember having to take it.
I also remember sitting in my bedroom and looking out my window as the world seemed to pass me by. These were the days when all the kids in the neighborhood played together outside. Huge games of hide-n-seek, kick the can, and dodgeball. I remember being one of the dodgeball champions, not because I could throw the ball because I certainly couldn't, but I was small and quick and I could dodge the ball until the end. Every day I would watch while everyone was outside playing and I had to stay inside, resting, fighting viral agents trying to multiply in my system. It tore my heart out. I so longed to be outside with everyone else. I even wanted to go to school! Halloween came around and I missed going trick-or-treating. It was a ten year olds biggest disappointment.
Today I feel all those same things. I feel like I'm on the sidelines, wishing I could be in the game. I feel like I am missing out on so many things. Every year I look forward to the COF Ladies Christmas Dinner. It is one of the most fun things we do all year. But tonight I won't be there. I'll be on the couch resting, fighting nausea, and wishing things could be different.
All those years ago as I listened to the door bell ring repeatedly and children sing out "Trick-or-Treat!" I learned a most valuable lesson. A lesson in love and selflessness. A lesson in thoughtfulness, a lesson in compassion. As it was getting later on Halloween night the doorbell rang one last time. No one sang out "Trick-or-Treat." Instead it was a group of my dearest friends. Each house that they went to that night they carried an extra bag. Laura's bag. They told my story of pneumonia to all the neighbors and collected halloween candy for me, and they were there to deliver it to me. That was the kindest act of friendship I had ever received. I have remembered their kindness all my life.
I know that even now as I sit on the sidelines, God is teaching me valuable lessons that I will carry through the rest of my life. May I be diligent in learning them! And may I be as compassionate as my ten year old friends!
"The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before. That which, like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be a highway for your escape." Charles H. Spurgeon