In Sickness, In Health

I spotted two articles recently about vocation . . . and illness.

At Good Letters, Paige Eve Chant wrote about “how to write in a sick person’s body“:

At first, I thought I might keep it a secret, this new disease, because privacy is a long-lost treasure in this world. I was eager to set something apart, to call something mine and mine alone. It made me feel powerful, toting around this secret knowledge, harboring this (mostly) invisible disease in a body that is, if you are the kind to trust appearances, young and healthy and able.

So I made a private resolution to tell no one. But, of course, it did not last. It turned out to be a perverse and misguided effort, far too exhausting to maintain. Secret ills, after all, are quite different than secret pleasures.

And at The Curator, Jenni Simmons wrote about what she learned from her regular visits to a local nursing home:

Several years ago I visited the nursing home around the corner from my church. I felt compelled to encourage the sick and elderly with conversation, Psalms read aloud and prayer. But to my surprise, they encouraged me. I was quite sick at the time. These frail, slow-moving bodies blessed my weak body with their courage and senses of humor. I stopped by room #27 often enough that I befriended a bedridden woman named Billie. Her husband Allan lived in the adjacent room. He was initially checked in for severe depression, but after he recovered, he stayed at Highland Park to be near his wife.

These two articles look at different aspects of work and sickness, and of what we learn from weakness and strength. I haven’t had too much experience with sickness myself, but I know many who have, and I often wonder how they do it.

What have you learned?

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