I've been sick this week. Here's what I had forgotten about strep throat -- it will knock you OUT. I mean, it sounds fairly weak and innocent, unlike, say, pneumonia, which sounds dire (and which I've had more than 10 times in my life? I kid you not) but ... oh man. I have been struggling to resemble a functional human being. (And by "functional" I really kind of mean "having the ability to sit upright and/or go to the store for the 100th time for gingerale and kleenex" which is, really, not super functional but you get the point, I'm sure.)
However, I'm getting better. I knew for sure this morning that I was getting better because I glanced in the mirror and saw a face that has some colour in it rather than the pasty/transparent complexion I've been sporting (vampire chic? Not even) and thought "I don't look so much like hell. I look like ... erm, heck."
(You know, hell's friendlier neighbor. )
I sat down with (yet another) glass of ginger ale and thought, I look a little better. I feel a little better. Baby steps. I'm getting over it.
Which is really how we get over everything, isn't it? We all want an instantaneous cure, as though the Genie in Alladin can show up and grant us recovery like a wish -- poof, you're all better! Poof, you're recovered! Poof, you're over it! -- but it doesn't happen like that. It doesn't happen like that with illnesses (says the woman who is still looking at seven days of antibiotics) and it doesn't happen like that with anything else, either.
But we want it to.
And -- perhaps more importantly, we act like it should.
Maybe not so much with illnesses. We seem to be tolerant of people who are recovering from germs, surgery, conditions, because we've all been sick and know that it takes more than a day of medicine or whatnot to get better.
But with other things. Things that are just as impactful to us as physical illnesses in the "knock you on your ass" way. Like grief, and loss, and separation.
I have too many friends who are working through these things and beating themselves up, daily, because they're not "over it" as though there is a timetable for moving past and through what's hurt or damaged them. As though that taking the time to heal is a bad thing for which they should be ashamed. As though not immediately jumping back into the fray makes them weak.
This is ridiculous. Ridiculous and, I think, potentially harmful. I think of it this way: if you have a broken arm, and it's not healed yet? You might want to wait for that cast to come off before you sign up for a boxing match. So if your spirit and heart are wounded and in need of some healing? You might -- just maybe -- want to make sure you're shored up and ready to go before you toss them back into the ring.
Which doesn't happen overnight.
Which sometimes doesn't happen over several overnights.
But which DOES happen, and it happens the way getting over strep throat or pneumonia or anything else happens -- a bit at a time. Slowly. One day you'll look in a mirror and see a face that you recognize as more your own and you'll realize you feel a bit better than you did yesterday, and you'll have hope that you'll feel better yet tomorrow.
And you'll know that you're getting over it.