I smiled and looked up at the server. Instead of my typical banter- I pointed to an item on the menu- the sound that came from my throat was more of a “gutteral grunt” than a “chicken and noodles, please”. Even that much effort burned my throat and made me wince.
Instead of the smile I am used to receiving- she winced. I mumbled some form of “I’m sick, but getting better” with a hopeful look on my face. She nodded, looking entirely un-convinced of the getting better part. She brought my soup and hot tea fast enough that I was sure the motive was more than good service. She wanted me to leave before my germs infected her. I wasn’t a smiling customer- I was a walking contagion.
And I knew it.
Being locked up in the house for over a week- was making me desperate for adult company. I thought proximity would be enough. Just being around people. But, it wasn’t. I wanted to connect. Just a few words- get to meet someone…talk a bit. Even at a restaurant- sounded pretty good. Apparently, connecting with a walking tonsil, wasn’t what anyone else had in mind for that day. I ate my soup and sipped my hot tea as slowly as I dared. Settling for the proximity I knew was not enough. The server kept asking if I needed anything else…I shook my head. But, I got the message. It was simple: “Go and take your cooties with you” I left.
I went home- dejected and feeling like a leper. (ok, I tend towards drama- we know this.)
I kept telling myself I’d be better soon. I kept telling myself things will be back to normal, SOON. But they aren’t. Better- yes- but all better? Not so much. I sound like a cross between James Earl Jones and a 3 pack a day smoker with asthma. I might actually have to go to the doctors, but, it hasn’t all been bad. I
I’ve been thinking about people who are really sick- people who can’t or don’t connect because of their illness or their experiences…I wonder if they crave the connection still? What if my lack of voice became permanent? For me? I’d work to find other ways- I know I would- it’s just part of my nature. But it isn’t everyones. Nor is plan b an option for everyone.
I have an online friend who is a nurse- she cares for her patients with love and respect- managing to maintain their dignity in a very undignified situation. She has a cancer patient under her care. I don’t know anything about this person- other than the fact that she is sick- and due to her treatments- is now confused and hurting. Physically and probably emotionally. I decided to use my “down time aka: quarantine” to knit her a pretty hat. A little connection to the outside world- a little love expressed without a voice. I prayer for her body to mend and her heart to feel a connection of love as I knit the pretty pink hat.
I hope it helps. :)
“Dear Lord- I love the gift of connection and communication that you’ve given to your creation. I pray that i’ll not take it for granted- but will share it with others- by voice and by actions- connecting when and how I can..in love- I love you Lord- amen”