Lessons Learned From Bacteria

It’s moments like this that coax my soul away from the canyon called overwhelmed and back into the land of being enough, imperfectly so. Moments when I’m supposed to be somewhere else doing something, fighting my fights for an education or a career or rent money or a relationship or hair that seems washed, or something else that I really do want or think I want or sometimes want. Moments when I’m horizontal on the couch instead, sipping coffee, listening to the rain, humming myself right out of tune.  In my defense—not that I need one, that’s what I’m saying—I’m sick. But the longer I sip my coffee, snuggled under a blanket, watching videos of sloths taking baths, the more alive, the more refreshed, the more healed I feel.

Don’t get me wrong, and don’t get yourself worried. I wasn’t spiraling into any sort of dark, sad-filled thing. I was just feeling kind of stretched out, with not very many days to stop and look around and think about my toes and listen to my stomach gurgle. Don’t you know your toes deserve your thoughts every now and then?

And then, I spent a couple of days feeling rather crappy, for lack of a better word. It wasn’t that I could put a finger on what felt wrong, but I felt off. I felt tired and achy and I was all “Somebody make me some tea!” but all my moms were far away and I just couldn’t figure out what was up, besides that I felt like it was all too much. At the same time, I couldn’t imagine checking out of life for a headache, and when the people who love me well kept asking me to do so, I thought, “Don’t you know I could never go home? Don’t you know they need me?” So even when the doctor told me, rather matter-of-factly, that I had an infection in my head (and she led with that phrasing, “infection in the head”), I thought, “well, that’s the pits, but you know I have to be at work at 8 a.m., don’t you? You know those people rely on me to size their photos and you know none of them know commas like I do, don’t you?

And of course, the truth of the matter is that they’ve taught me all I know, but that’s a secret. Hemingway said to let them think you’re born a writer, but these people make me look good.

It wasn’t until 4 a.m. this morning that I realized my comma skills—their being remarkable being rather debatable—could, in fact, be lived without. And perhaps it was the haze of bacterial-ridden sleep, but I thought to myself, “I can’t get up in three hours for commas.” And right then and there, I wrote an email that said just that in a really nice, hopefully coherent way, and I went back to sleep (and dreamt some really strange dreams, but that’s another post for another rainy day.)

It’s incredible, really. I’m missing literature as we speak, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge has not called me yet and scolded me for missing out on the analysis of the scintillating “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” which is good on multiple levels, because if he did, I might have more bacterial side effects than originally thought. I haven’t gotten any frantic calls from the office, with someone wailing, “I CAN”T FIGURE OUT THIS RUN-ON SENTENCE, RUN, DON”T WALK!” Perfectly fine, since I can’t tout my run-on sentence skills. It must be true, then; my sitting on the couch hasn’t broken all that many hearts. In fact, it has healed one indeed.

The good news (maybe I should have led with this) is that I’m perfectly fine, especially two antibiotic doses in, and I’ll be back in the game soon (read: I’m going into work at 2 p.m. today.) Alright, so it was really just a few hours of wallowing, but any more and I’d start organizing Tupperware and talking to my toes. Off all my revelations, here’s the most important one, right in the middle of my bible reading for the day. Almost certainly, it crafted for my heart on this very day, and you’d better believe I am thankful for it.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” —Exodus 14:14

On the strength and beauty of that promise, I think I’ll have another cup of coffee.

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4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From Bacteria

  1. This was a great break from schoolwork, thanks! And I’m sure your blog thanks you for feeding it words through thick and thin (phlegm). Get better, Writer!

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