Sunday, April 01, 2012

A Narrowed Focus (Holy Week into Easter)

I've been describing this past week as a lost week. My birthday last Monday was just a super lovely day (annual conservatory pictures coming soon) but things started getting weird on Tuesday. The sweet girl discovered, late in the morning, that she wasn't feeling very well. She seemed to lose all energy and appetite and had started a cough. I discovered she had a temperature that afternoon, and by nighttime it had hit 103. It didn't fully break until this morning, in the sixth day of the illness.

It turned out to be a virus (with such a high temp, we took her to the doc mid-week) but what an awful one. I started battling it on Wednesday and came down with it on Thursday in earnest, and I suddenly understood why she had complained of dizziness and aches and had cried so much. At one point she had told me she needed help to walk to the bathroom; I obliged with a slight inward smile, thinking she was being a bit of a drama princess. Um...turns out that, no, she was being completely accurate. I had a hard time standing up long enough for a shower yesterday. The body aches, fierce headache, high temps, and wracking cough, when you put them all together, just make for misery.

I am finally turning the corner today, though still running a temp and coughing and having to rest a lot. I've been attempting, in five minute increments, to pick up the living room, which we basically trashed during a week of camping out on the couch and loveseat (where we both napped for much of the week). There are videos and coloring books and a few scattered schoolbooks, there are piles of laundry (which my dear husband valiantly folded last night...he has miraculously not gotten this, but is so busy with multiple jobs and trying to take care of us this week that he hasn't had much time for the house either). The tax papers are stranded on the table -- no, I haven't done them yet. They were supposed to get done last Tuesday.

It's amazing to me, as always, how much illness narrows one's focus. And not even a terribly serious illness, in this case, just one that wiped our little family out for close to a week. I have friends right now who have been sojourning for months with a child who is seriously ill and has been in and out of hospital over and over again. I can only imagine how their focus has narrowed, and how they have discovered, in the midst of it all, what's important and what's not.

When your focus has narrowed for a while, you can feel it begin to open again, almost like a wide lens opening on a camera. Today was seriously the first time in a handful of days that I had enough energy to begin to notice certain little things, like the socks that needed matching, and the fact that the geranium on the windowsill really needed water. A chunk of cheese in the refrigerator had started to get moldy (D. was hardly here for meals all week, and neither the sweet girl nor I have had any appetite, so most of last week's fresh groceries have unfortunately gone south). As deep down tired as I still feel, I'm starting to notice and to care about these things again. I'm starting to take care of these things again.

It strikes me that a narrowed focus is a powerful metaphor for our journey during Holy Week. During these days, our prayers and meditations center on Jesus' final days, the days leading up to his arrest and passion. Our focus becomes intensively narrow. We leave behind the earlier pages of the gospels, not fully (because the context of Jesus' whole and fully lived life stays with us) but for these few days, we narrow our focus to the central event, his passion and death.

How much more so this must have been true the original disciples, who walked with him up through the Last Supper, and in some cases, to the foot of the cross. They must have felt love, sorrow, fear, in intense waves. Jesus was dying. He was leaving them. He was going to his death. That was their lens, their focus, in those hard and bitter days.

It's only with the resurrection three days later that the lens opens wide again, forever widening their view and our's. No longer would they view Jesus, the world, themselves, in the same way ever again. Death and evil had been defeated! No longer were they subject to them! Their King had returned, and returned in such a way that the whole world was made new. For the rest of their lives, as his disciples, they would keep learning to see the world his way.


Erin said...

A most excellent post, Beth, and so glad that you are now recovered, or nearly so anyway, from the unpleasantness of last week...

Beth said...

I'm very glad to be recovered too! Unbelievably both S. and I are still dealing with coughs, but we're doing so much better in every other way it's hard to care. :)