How the Polar Vortex changed my week.

I felt a little anxious yesterday and I’m not sure why. Maybe because the weekend was busy. Maybe it was because the “polar vertex” (the media’s term for cold weather from Canada) was moving down south again so I nearly died jogging outside in the morning. Or, maybe it’s because I had no idea what to blog about except I wanted to say “polar vortex” several times.

Our daughters have both been sick. Last Wednesday our youngest, Fair Maiden Two, came home from college with the flu of some sort. She told us she was quarantined from campus for H1N1, but I think she got sick because one day it’s 70 degrees outside and the next day the polar vortex rolls in and nearly freezes our hineys off. There was a fun side to her illness though: I was able to come home early and hang out to play games. (Fair Maiden Two is a world champion at triple solitaire but loses every time at Battleship.)

The same day Fair Maiden Two was sick, Fair Maiden One phoned us to say she wasn’t feeling well (our daughters are very competitive). Long story short, she was diagnosed with Mononucleosis. The sad part is she’s still very sick and the cold air from the polar vortex makes her throat hurt even more. The fun part is I’ve been tweeting mono puns to her all day:
> You’re so sick that you can only sing in monotone.
> You’re so sick that you commute to work on the monorail.
> You’re so sick you want to monopolize every conversation.
> You’re so sick you have to speak in monosyllables.
> You’re so sick all your sweaters are monogrammed.
> You’re so sick you wear a monocle instead of contact lenses.
> You’re so sick your favorite painting is the Mono Lisa.
> You’re so sick you think my puns are monotonous.

I think the toughest part of feeling sick is how you feel — alone. One of my earliest childhood memories was my being alone in a hospital, standing up in a crib and crying for someone to help. The room was cold and empty and gray. I don’t remember what I was sick with or how I got better. All I remember is a small toddler all alone, crying out for help. Aloneness.

People who care and comfort at just the right moment remind us that we are not alone. An email, a text, a random phone call, or a short visit makes us feel less lonely in a world where all of us ache for companionship . . . for someone to notice. I firmly believe that God exists, that He cares, and that He heals. But even on my worst days, I’m convinced that God wants me to find someone else who needs to know that he or she is not alone. In his book, Tangible, Chris Sicks calls helping others “the apologetic of mercy” — meaning the best way to prove God exists is not by my words but through my care. Most days I’m not good at caring for anyone other than myself. It’s easier to not notice or to make excuses. After all, the polar vortex slowed me down.

Calvin G. Roso © January 2014

* Find Chris Sicks’ book at: Tangible

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