I Almost Died. In a Church.

28 01 2011

Since half a dozen people have remarked to me in the last few days that I’ve been silent on the ol’ blog front for the last few days, let me explain what’s going on:

I’m dying.

Fine, that may be overstating it a wee bit.

I feel like I’m dying.

After being sick with a fever for a full week, getting roughly an hour of decent sleep in the morning as my exhausted body finally passes out cold after a fitful night of hacking into my pillow, and soaking more pajamas in sweat than I care to admit, I’ve finally succumbed to the doctor’s diagnosis of a bad cold and/or flu that developed into bronchitis.

At 25, this is the first time I’ve ever had this strange affliction. And after mustering the courage to choke down the hot whisky toddy prescribed to me by my boss, I’ve decided that it’s probably the most aggravating thing in existence—after that horrible bagel-slicing machine that chops your bagel up into tiny chip-like pieces.

And, for a short time, I legitimately imagined that I was actually dying. My mental brush with death came as I was sitting in an unheated, pitch-black church sanctuary on a Saturday night.

It’s almost too cliché, really—a church worker, dying in a church?

Two weeks ago, at the persuasion of some friends, I attended a TEC retreat held at an ancient Lutheran church in downtown St. Louis. I came just as an observer to this retreat, called “Teens Encounter Christ”, held twice yearly for teenagers all over the state.

Unfortunately and somewhat ironically, the youth leader who goes a thousand miles-a-minute running retreats with over a hundred people a pop in attendance nearly passed out in a quiet hour of personal reflection.

I arrived at TEC that Saturday morning as happy as a clam…happier than a clam, actually, as not a single person at the retreat could tell if I was a teenage participant or an adult. In fact, they actually carried all of my bags down to the teenage girls’ dorm before realizing that I was an adult. Even the adults questioned me, saying they were “convinced I was 17 or 18”.

I’ve heard that several times in the last year. It’d make me proud, if I didn’t have other kids asking me if I was 35.

By mid-afternoon, I was freezing to death and wearing 3 sweaters—but my body was burning up.

By that evening, as we sat together in the unlit sanctuary and took a few hours to personally reflect on our faith, I was feeling more miserable than I’ve felt in a long time. I sat quietly on a harsh wooden pew, praying for what seemed like an eternity.

After a while, however, I realized that my prayers were focused around three things:

1) Dear God, I haven’t sat in a wooden pew for a long time. I think my buns are going to fall off in sheer protest.

2) Heavenly Father, as much as I love talking to you, I think I’m slowly dying.

3) Almighty Lord, please don’t let me keel over in this pew and die. I actually think I might, and they won’t be able to find me in the dark. They won’t even hear my last words over the guitar solo playing softly in the background.

I dragged myself to one of the retreat counselors and begged for aspirin. I then limped up to the room and collapsed onto my bed for the next few hours.

I woke up so sick that, by late afternoon that next day, I could hardly keep from passing out every time I stood up.

It wasn’t until the worship leader stepped away from his podium at the front of the room to try to catch me as I stumbled and almost tumbled to the ground in a dead faint that I realized I had to go home. And it wasn’t until my mom strong-armed me from a thousand miles away that I went in to see the doctor, later that week.

However, in my lonely and altogether miserable week of convalescence at home, I managed to learn some fascinating new things about selling your home, since HGTV was the only channel that seemed to have anything halfway decent playing while I was in between bouts of gut-wrenching coughing and horrific chills and sweats.

For instance, did you know that, dollar for dollar, a kitchen remodel is the best return on investment in your entire house?

So, there you have it, folks. I’ve been so miserable that I couldn’t even garner up the strength to write lately—as I explained to one of my students the other day, “You know I was truly sick since I didn’t even do a single load of laundry until I was finally on antibiotics.”

The good news is, of course, that now my sleeping schedule is so screwed up that I’m awake at one in the morning, thinking about how I could totally sell this apartment in the blink of an eye.

It’s all about whether you see the glass as half empty or half full, right?

Personally, I’m just glad I’m not seeing a half-full glass of hot toddy. Ugh.

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One response

18 02 2011
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i love it

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