It all started last Saturday night with the tell-tale whole-body shivers. I had watched my kids battling ear-infections and strep throat earlier in Holy Week, and I had skated above their germs and fevers, while I practically lived at church with rehearsals and services most evenings. But on Saturday night, just before it was time to set the 4:30am alarm for Easter morning, I knew my body was about to be hit by something bad.
I woke up on Easter Sunday with the flu. Fever, chills, shivers, cough, body aches, you name it. I loaded up on DayQuil and headed in for our 7:00am sunrise service. Halfway through our 9:15am service, the DayQuil ran off and my fever spiked again. Down went the magic potion again, and temporary relief was mine, though I still felt subhuman. I got through our 11:30am service, left afterwards without talking with (and thus contaminating) hardly anyone, and fell into bed for a nap, while my entire family feasted on London Broil, lamb, potatoes, veggies, and about 4 different desserts. Without me.
Then it was off to our evening service, feeling like I was going to fall over and fall apart any moment. On the way home from that final service, I could feel my body disengaging from “Easter-services” mode, and preparing for “get run over by a semi-truck” mode. The next several days were pretty much spent in bed, unable to do much of anything, while Catherine (who had just had to endure several weeks of an increased parental burden while I prepped for Holy Week) bore the parental/cooking/house-cleaning/bedtimes/bathtimes/etc. load on her own, in addition to taking care of her sick husband.
On Friday I began to come up for air, and feel normal enough to be able to be helpful and functional. Which is good. Because now Catherine has the flu (or something like it). And our oldest daughter now has a fever too.
Needless to say, it has been a difficult seven days in the Brown family!
It has been a humbling week: God reminded me – through the experience of having the flu on Easter Sunday – of my total dependence on his power, his strength, his leading, and his upholding. I was not only praying for God’s help because it’s the worship leader thing to do… I was praying for God’s help because I had no strength on my own. I hope I remember this lesson on the Sundays when I feel fine.
It’s been an insightful week: God used this sickness to bring my work to a complete halt. I couldn’t send emails, I couldn’t return phone calls or texts, I couldn’t even think straight enough to plan this weekend’s upcoming services. I couldn’t do anything. And yet he’s taken care of everything with my family (mainly through my amazing wife), and everything for this coming weekend (mainly through the incredible worship and arts team at my church who are all phenomenal at their jobs). God really does take care of things, and our constant busyness gives us such a false sense of our own control of our lives. He reminded me of that again this week.
And it’s been a challenging week: God used my Easter-day flu to completely change my plans for how this week would look. I was planning on taking my kids out a lot, enjoying the spring weather, taking my family to see the cherry blossoms, giving Catherine a break after all she had done on her own… But none of that happened. God had other plans. He made our whole family slow down. Way down. It was frustrating. But he knew we all needed it.
I’m eager to be done with this sickness all the way, and to no longer have to cough incredibly painful coughs every 15 seconds. I hate to see Catherine (and my kids) not feeling well, with the same tell-tale whole-body shivers and flushed cheeks. But when you get the flu on Easter (or strep, or ear-infections, or maybe all of the above), it’s yet another opportunity run to Jesus and trust in his sustaining grace. If I declare this as a worship leader every Sunday, I better be able to declare it when sickness hits my household!
May God continue to teach me to run to him – either in sickness and in health – and lean on him completely not only in my worship leading role, but especially in my family role. May the grace of God not just be the theme of my songs, but also the theme in my home as well. And even when I get the flu on Easter.