Thursday, February 09, 2006

In Sickness And In Health

My family's sick this week. I was sick back in January, and had my wife hovering over me the whole time. Now the wife and kids are sick, so I'm magnanimously ignoring the dishes, toys, and clothes piling up everywhere. Wouldn't want to add to her suffering by kvetching about what a mess the house is falling into, now would I?

Seriously, I'm doing what I can, which I'm painfully aware is little enough. Counterintuitively, the strain and friction makes me feel closer to her. In the course of talking about the perseverance of the Gospel in Soviet Russia, Malcolm Muggeridge puts it thus:

Along the straight paths through the pine trees I tried afterwards to sort it out in my mind. How suffering, rather than pleasure, should be the sacrament of love. The imperfection of the flesh so much more crucial than its imagined perfection; the transports of tending it in sickness far transcending those of coupling with it in health. A contradiction, a mystery. Peeping in through a broken window of the little church with the newly painted front, I saw that it was used now for storying tools, as well as some of the fallen slogans from the nearby clearing, neatly piled up for use the following summer. Yet at the back where the altar had been there was still the faint outline of a cross to be seen. Another statement of the same proposition. In its survival I read the promise that somehow this enlightenment through suffering, this assertion of the everlasting supremacy of the gospel of love over the gospel of power, would never be obliterated, however dimly and obscurely traced now, and however seemingly triumphant the forces opposed to it might seem to be.
-- Malcolm Muggeridge, of Moscow in 1932-33, _Chronicles of Wasted Time: The Green Stick_, 1973

1 comment:

  1. Yikes, that's no fun. Get well soon, the lot of you.

    Try chicken soup (assuming it's not a stomach flu). It doesn't actually help, as far as I can tell, but it's hot and it gives you something nice to eat while you're waiting to get better.

    It also gets better as it sits in the fridge, which makes it awfully nice to have on hand while you're trying to handle everything single-handed.


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