“God bless those who suffer from the common cold.
Nature has entered into them;
Has led them aside and gently lain them low
To contemplate life from the wayside;
To consider human frailty;
To receive the deep and dreamy messages of fever.
We give thanks for the insights of this humble perspective.
We give thanks for blessings in disguise. AMEN.”
From ‘The Prayer Tree’ by Michael Leunig © 1991
Michael Leunig is an Australian cartoonist, poet and philosopher, whose poem/prayer came to mind as I have been brought low with all the symptoms of the common cold. I wish I had spent the time ‘contemplating and considering’ but my brain power only extended to daytime television! Nonetheless, if your illness if brief and if you can take some time off, then a few days to gather your duvet around you and allow the world to drift past you until you recover does make life sweeter. For some people recovery from illness is slow, and it is hard to find the “blessings in disguise” when you are still unwell. The same virus but different outcomes brings different perspectives.
There was a recent Guardian article about the positive power of a sick note. The interviewee, a doctor, has written a book subtitled “The lost art of convalescence”. I suspect that many minor illnesses take a bit more time to get over than we realise and this art needs more practise. For those now dealing with long Covid and post-viral conditions, this realisation is tough, the way ahead uncertain and modern medicine does not yet have the answers. Convalescing involves giving each other permission to do a bit less, and remove any pressure from each other that we can, until our minds and our bodies hopefully return to full-power.
So when you are ‘lain low’, Leunig’s words may help you. Here is another one of his poem/prayers.
“God rest us.
Rest that part of us which is tired.
Awaken that part of us which is asleep.
God awaken us and awake within us. AMEN”
With best wishes,