Lenten Crosses

I gave up meat for Lent, which really isn’t that hard for me.

I gave up cheese, which is a bit of a challenge, but certainly isn’t a Herculean task.

I gave up milk, and had to practice patience while waiting for my black coffee to cool to a consumable temperature. To this, I have adapted.

I gave up caffeine, and felt the addiction work it’s way out of my body within the first week. I was no longer yawning all day long.

I fashioned a cross that suited me, and although it wasn’t fun to carry it and Lent seemed like a very very long time, it was a cross I chose, and I was comfortable with it.

But then I got sick. I still am sick. I rarely get sick. I don’t have time to get sick.

Nonetheless, I am on Day 5 of fever, lethargy, chills and coughing. My head hurts, my throat hurts, and my ears hurt (even though the doctor says it’s not my ears that hurt, it’s my lymph nodes).

And because I don’t have time to be sick, I have spent way too much time in the cold, rainy weather shivering as I look at azalea bushes for sale or manning that last blasted cookie booth in an unheated vestibule.

I have come to understand how back in the days before we had insulated windows and draftless heat throughout the house people would catch their death of a cold. How did they ever get truly warm?

And it’s not just me. Katie started us off on this adventure, but she seems to be well on the road to recovery. Billy was so sick on Sunday morning that he was begging for Anointing of the Sick. I haven’t seen him yet this morning, but yesterday he was doing well and responding to the regular rotation of Advil and Tylenol. Even little Mary had a low fever for two days.

Poor Jenny, though, was flushed and lethargic all day yesterday. Even with medicine, she’s not gotten her temp below a hundred, and it’s all I can do to get her to sip some water.

And so, that custom-made cross of my choosing has been laid aside. Instead, I have this other one.

I didn’t pick it. I don’t like it.

But it is mine.

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