Friday, January 30, 2009


I got sick on the way home from Mali and have been in bed nursing a bad cold since I got back.

On many levels this was a major bummer. Obviously there were lots of things that needed to get done. Nguyen's patience was already tried mightily having the two boys for two weeks while I was gallivanting around Bamako. For me, too, being sick was no fun at all. It has been terrible to miss work for yet another week. I missed church on Sunday and felt utterly exhausted by the simplest things.

The last time I was bed ridden was 3 years ago when a mysterious auto immune response to a virus left my left knee blown up like a water balloon. For weeks I was in agonizing pain, with no idea what on earth was wrong with me. The only light in the midst of that dark time was that I had started to read the bible with the intention of finishing it in 3 months. Because of all the down time, I was able to do it, coming to the end of Revelations on Maundy Thursday of that Holy Week.

This time I had no agenda, but there has still been an upside to my enforced downtime. It has given me some time to reflect on and process my experiences in Mali. I have turned over the moments like precious jewels, sifting through rust colored dirt to find them shining forth in my heart. My time in bed this week has been a kind of transition back to my life that I think I am mostly grateful for. I am not sure what it would have been like to just jump back in with both feet.

Tonight I was supposed to go on retreat at the Society of St. Margaret's in Boston. Due to my fragile health and the busy schedule of the rest of the group, we ended up canceling the retreat. And while I would have loved to pray and eat and be silent with the nuns, I think in a way, I have already been on retreat this week.

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