Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.
Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they choose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.
Sometimes following the rhythm of family means coming to a dead stop, as was the case for us this week while the flu made its rounds through our home.
Being sick isn’t pleasant, but it does have purpose if we choose to see it. Illness is part of the world’s balance: just as emotional struggle makes our souls strong, physical struggle teaches our bodies to be strong against those things which would do it harm. We are meant to occasionally get sick, plain and simple, and there is purpose in beauty in that simple fact.
When we choose to see the wonder in that balance, there are gifts and joys to be found in our days of convalescence. I’ve participated in more extended snuggle sessions this week than any other in recent memory. Better still, I’ve found great purpose and joy in dusting off the cobwebs and remembering those unconscious rituals of illness that our family has cultivated. These are traditions, many of which my mother did for me as a child when I was ill, that I do each time my own family is sick to comfort and heal my loved ones.
At the first sign of illness at our house, we squeeze fresh orange juice and drink it to the last drop. We pull countless stories from the shelves and read until Mama’s voice gives out. We put our baby dolls, who are sick too, to bed with tender care. We brew slippery elm tea and drink it with fresh lemon juice and Daddy’s honey. We sing Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra, an Irish lullaby, and we soak in lavender and eucalyptus baths. Mama fills baskets for each child with little loves and treasures for sick bodies, worried hearts and idle hands. We sleep, often together in the big family bed, as much as we can stand. After a few days we bundle up tight and take short walks into the woods behind our house to breathe the fresh air and feel the real world, from which we’ve been conspicuously absent, breathe a bit of life on us.
Being sick allows us to be still, completely still. The kind of still you can only be when it hurts just to tighten a muscle. It allows us to see our blessings- like health- with fresh, new gratitude. It allows us the opportunity to accept help gracefully (a dear one brought us some crafts and chicken soup this week). It bonds fellow invalids into a sort of community, one forged by common malady and empathy. It sometimes affords us the chance to do the little tasks, like mending, which get overlooked so frequently in the everyday hustle and bustle of family life.
Perhaps I don’t revel in my illness this week, but I do appreciate it. By next week, our bodies will be all but mended and life will have resumed its more typical flow. We’ll remember with smiles and groans “the flu of 2013” and we’ll say a few extra prayers for those in our world who are still unwell.
But we’ll be a bit more grateful for our health, and we’ll still be full of the hugs and snuggles this week in bed afforded us.
This month we are so pleased to welcome Emily to the Being series here on the blog. Emily is a mama to three who blogs about her family’s journey along the path of slow and simple living on her blog, Simple Little Home. Welcome, Emily!
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do. To learn more about us, please visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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