Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sick Musings

In the delusion of illness, and this is just a head cold, it is amazing how much clearer things are in life. I am very angry about being sick, cancelling classes, losing productivity on my book, being unable to read, having a fever that almost made me vomit, but still, I think if a person can take some sort of illumination from sickness then it is a very good thing. Maybe even a designed, perfected thing in the end. I feel more in love with my writing, my garden, my wife--maybe not in that order.

This time allows me silence on the couch, silences I've either let go or refused over the years. These silences are deeply necessary and restorative, mentally, physically, psychologically. I know we all need them, but I feel DEAD without them, and I think I've felt dead for a long time now. Being sick is, for a few brief moments in the grossness and agony of it, healing.

I have more time to sit outside, walk the garden, feel this cool 70 degree autumn breeze clash with the still warm sun, and that battle is oddly balancing. I notice more birds than I thought we had left. I chase more squirrels from the feeder. I see spiders catching bumble bees and the preying mantis doing the same. There are plenty of bumble bees, even a very large one the size of my thumb working the now-closed blue morning glories. To heck with teaching and running around and responding to emails and....

My ears are ringing. My nose is runny. My body feels limp. I yearn to work on my book and see if I can't, somehow, someway, make the darn thing work like one cohesive narrative. But I also can appreciate this nothingness I am in, this halting the world has forced upon me, this warning, this awakening, this anguish.

"I consider not being able to write as a manifestation of grace; I think grace sometimes can be anguishing." (Christian Wiman)

Come at me grace, come at me and refill me and hold me under until I start to listen again and be what I need to be, what I'm supposed to be. I tried to edit some things this afternoon, but knew it'd be better to let that moment of inspiration go to a more useful area: out into thin air, recycled back to that which gives me sustenance.


Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better soon. Your musings are quite thought provoking which is more than I can about my own when I'm not well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your sentiments Benjamin. While I never enjoy being sick, there is a sense of deep restoration that commences when the body is forced to stop. Not only physically, emotionally, mentally but also spiritually.

These times often force us to consider our significance - albeit small.

I hope you get well soon but also enjoy the short period of reflection.

Anonymous said...

Hi Benjamin, I too am sorry to hear you are ill, but it seems you are turning it on its head and using it for your own healing. Your voice is clearer, maybe you were rushing around too much and needed to step back and see.

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VP said...

Hope you feel better soon!

Sometimes it's best just to give in and as you've found, appreciate the small details of life that restore and refresh.

I'm sure you'll return raring to go as a result!

Zoë said...

Get well soon! I empathise totally with your view on this, I have found myself staring out the window watching birds at the feeders for what I thought was minutes and it turned out to be hours! I think when we need to our soul takes us back to Mother Nature, and the simple pleasures that provide a remedy.


Benjamin Vogt said...

PG--I ran into one of my former students yesterday after teaching, as we walked we discussed how it sometimes seems taht when you are sick, loopy, and in a daze, language just flows out more easily. Ideas are less impeded. It's a good, total flushing out of the body and realligning, though I am certainly no advocate for being sick with anything, cold, or much worse.
Stuart--Thanks for stopping in, sir. With work piling up that I can no longer avoid, I think my reflecting days are on hold.
Frances--Yes, step back and see. I think, made eviden tin my garden, it's too easy to focus in on a billion things and not see the larger picture. AND I fixed your URL....:)
VP--When will that happen? Soon? PLEASE?????
Zoe--Thanks for your sentiments. I love it when minutes become hours, because that means your were totally, wholly, wonderfully, restoratively engrossed in something. Usually....