A Sick Day, A Good Day

A Sick Day, A Good Day June 16, 2021

A bit of personal history and a small point:

Once, just once, there was a splendid sick day.

When I was a boy, Mom and Dad never questioned a request for a sick day. I did not like being sick and would get to school if at all possible. Going to school seemed my job and a man did his job: that was basic. There is good to this, but also folly. Once I remember needing to get to the bathroom, leaving class, and leaning against the wall to get there in time. This was my own Kobayashi Maru:

  • If I made it, I still would be sick, have to excuse myself again, and so have to go home.
  • If I did not make it, I would be a mess and so have to go home.

Reader, I went home.

This was a no-win scenario, because a sick day was not like a Saturday. If a boy was sick enough to go home, then he was too sick to have fun. Television in my era was limited to four channels and during the day they showed nothing of any interest to a lad. There were “soap operas” and a few game shows. The commercials were better. I love reading better than anything, but reading (unlike a screen) is all consuming. If I was too sick to go to school, I was generally too sick to read. Unless one slept the day away, the hours dragged on, even the imagination can falter in an illness.*

Mom woke me up one morning and my cheeks were bright red. She checked out my arms and they were covered in red blotches. This was odd as I felt fine. These were the days when a doctor was down the street with an office in his house and so to the doctor’s house we went. The diagnosis was Victorian, perhaps Fifth’s Disease, perhaps not, but home I was sent.

Duty done: If the doctor said go home, then home you had to go.

This was glorious, because my brother also had this glorious disease: red blotches, no other symptoms. We looked odd, but we felt fine. We read, played games, ate treats. Mom made us soup with saltine crackers. We drank ginger ale with straws. These were the good parts of being sick with none of the sickness. We looked weird, but were too young to care.

That was a sick day, but a good day.

This side of heaven, where every day is a bit of a sick day, is about as good as it gets. We are never perfectly well with everything functioning as designed. There are days, foretastes of paradise, when our general problems are slight and our health is good and all of this happens on a holiday. The treats are good, the games pleasant, much jollification ensues. These holy days are how things should be, if things were not broken, and how they will be, only more so.

God is moving all things to perfection, the final end of goodness, perfect beauty, and everlasting truth. Our duties will be done. There will be no need to try. The good news is that this is reality at the deepest level now. The plan is in motion and the great deed accomplished when Jesus came. If I stop, look to Jesus, then this sick day can be a good day, too.

Thank God.



Obviously if one is contagious one should not go out and give others a disease. I can only say that this aspect of disease occurred to me sometime in middle school.

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