We've been so sick recently, our two little boys, my wife and me. It started with the boys, of course, getting a nasty flu bug wherever little kids get them and all almost two weeks before Christmas.
For days, their fevers, snotty noses, wracking coughs, tears and pale faces, coupled with their lethargic, weak, little-boy miseries have just tugged at our hearts as we tried to help them, hoping to have them back by Christmas to the yelling and happy monsters they tend to be.
The gift that keeps on giving caused my sweet, tough Melissa to get it first. She fought though the first day or two, still working because she was so needed but it finally got her too. Then, my turn.
We four were so miserable for days, seemingly barely able to move, weak, achy and shaky, swinging fevers and freezing, hacking and coughing everywhere, alternating meager care of the boys between us.
There's an additional story of Christmas love that involves a dear friend who is a Doc but I'm not sure that can be posted so that'll have to wait for another time.
Out of curiosity once during those horrible days where time just blended endlessly with misery, I timed Melissa going up our stairs as she dragged herself back to bed – 1:03 minutes – just one flight of stairs (to be noted, the woman vehemently disputes this, insisting she NEVER took so long to go up some stairs and that I must have been delirious but pfft, whatever).
When I felt my worst, I timed myself – 1:43 minutes with a short stop and sit down in the middle – and it felt like clawing up Kilimanjaro, every portion of my body in agony and the top of the stairs seemed like a moon-shot retarded by too much gravity.
There's the proof – she's far tougher. But I'm also a man, and we boys just experience sickness much more deeply, right?
Anyway, I had an upcoming Handgun Fundamentals class to teach on Dec. 23rd. I'd gotten sick five days before and was hoping the bug would have cleared up by then because, though open to the public, it was mainly for an armed church security team I'd come to love and truly want to help.
The afternoon of the 22nd, I realized there was no way I'd be well enough to teach that course, so I called the friend who'd helped organized it – we'll call him M – to explain and see if they'd be willing to delay till the next one on Jan. 6th.
I hate cancelling classes…absolutely hate it…what if a student scheduled to be there got into an unfortunate defensive encounter against Evil after when the class SHOULD have been but BEFORE the next one?! What if they were injured, or didn't survive, or if some other innocent person was hurt, or worse, all because I cancelled the class, and someone didn't get the training that could have provided a completely different outcome??
Since the house was largely devoid of food after so many days of being sick, I headed into town to pick up some food and medication. While weakly driving home, I called M to explain.
When M. hears why the class needed to be cancelled, he instantly but kindly started chewing me out. He wanted to know why we hadn't let him or others know we were all sick and why we hadn't reached out for help.
I murmured something to the effect that we did not want to bother others or get them sick, that we were getting by, and we certainly didn't want to add to others already-busy lives with Christmas so close.
It's true. No one deserves this bad bug or to have their Christmas ruined, and life is so busy this time of year.
M was having none of it. He insisted on getting us some food and wanted to know what else he and his wife could do…. we'll call her M as well, with the duo as M&M.
I tried to beg him off, honestly not wanting them to go to more work than they surely were already doing but he insisted, demanding our address and a list of needs and wants.
M said they were going to make chicken noodle soup, mash potatoes, and other comfort foods, and would pick up Sprite and other things, and that I better send him a list of dietary needs and desires, etc.
We hung up as I drove home. It seemed to take forever to get there and another eon to unload the two small bags of food and medication. I was shaky, hurting, and weak by then and crawled back in bed as soon as possible. Melissa occasionally moved around as needed, obviously miserable.
Later, I realized there was a text message from M, once again kindly demanding our address and that they would be dropping off food on the 23rd.
I demurred, again trying to deter them from spending time, effort and money but then he responded with another text saying most of the food was already done and would be ready to be dropped off the next morning. He even sent pictures of what he and his wife had already made.
Wow. What a testament of caring and immediately getting to work.
The next morning, I'm sick sweating in bed when I realize there's another text message from M, detailing when he would drop off food at the front door without bothering us and without passing on the bug to them.
Melissa and I had sort of started to feel better and slowly began the process of sanitizing the house from over a week of nastiness. At some point, I heard something outside and glanced out to see M getting back in his vehicle and driving away.
I gathered up what he'd left on the porch. It was neat and organized, clearly done with care.
For the record, the food was homemade. The lasagna was delicious, the chicken noodle soup, so perfect and comforting, and the mash potatoes is surely what manna from heaven is made of. Plus, there was a homemade strawberry French toast casserole…among other things. It was the first real food we've really eaten in days, and it was so good to see our two little men slurping on the soup.
I later learned that M (he) had peeled the potatoes, while M (her) and their daughter had done the cooking.
Imagine how much time and work all that homemade, carefully packed, and caringly delivered food took…
I know this may seem laborious, with details not really needed, BUT…the love and care and kindness and effort and valuable time sacrificed and the Christlikeness….was so clearly communicated through M&M and family. Heartwarming and a story worth of telling for us all.
May I and we all take note of and also portray to others similar love that M&M and their family showed.