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sickInfluenza hit our house big time this past week. It started with my husband on Sunday right after the Superbowl. (And no – it didn’t have to do with who won or who lost.) Fever, cough, vomiting and aches. Within fifteen minutes everything in the house was contaminated. On Wednesday it hit me at work. I had too much going on to leave early and when I did get home I had to take him to the doctor and then pick up prescriptions so it was 8:00 p.m. before I got to kick back and try to rest. Over the next 3 days I got a clear vision of how men handle sick different than women handle sick (at least in my house). Just a few examples follow.

When I am sick I want to be off in a dark room by myself with no noise. When he is sick he wants to still be in the middle of everything, spreading his germs around and making sure everyone knows he’s sick.

When I’m sick, I do whatever I can to feel better. If I have a headache I take an aspirin. If I’m nauseous, I will nibble on a cracker or sip 7-Up. When he’s sick, I literally have to tell him to take something or deliver it to him and stand and watch to make sure he takes it.

When I’m sick, I know I will eventually get better. When he’s sick he is sure he’s dying.

When I wake up at night coughing, I will slip out of bed, tiptoe into the kitchen and take cough syrup. I will sit in my chair by the fire until the cough is under control before I tiptoe back into the bedroom and slip quietly beneath the covers where he is still sound asleep. When he wakes up at night coughing, he just coughs – and coughs, and coughs. I finally tell him to get up and take some cough syrup at which point he flings off the covers, sits on the edge of the bed shaking it with every cough, and then tromps out of the bedroom. He will take the cough syrup, spend a few minutes in the chair by the fire and then come tromping back to the bedroom where he flings back the covers again, plops down and pets his dog for five minutes, shaking the bed with every pat – the bed where I am now wide awake.

And here is the classic He Sick-She Sick difference. It happened this week. I put out a plea to my daughter and daughter in law to see if anyone could bring some homemade chicken noodle soup by to help us stay nourished. He went to the grocery store to find something he could “keep down” and comes home with a dozen glazed donuts dripping with chocolate frosting!

Right now, I’m sitting at work sipping tea and writing this. He is home eating donuts and waiting for me to come home and tell him to take his pills and use the cough syrup.

Addendum to this post: I’m not trying to make you think he’s not really sick because he is. And I will be the first to admit he is a lot sicker than I am. I’m just saying He Sick-She Sick, two different things entirely.

And I am chanting Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

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So – I have this dog.  And the first thing you need to know is I’m not really a dog person.   I’m not one of those people who treats their dog like a person, lets them lick your face or kisses them on the nose.  I’m the person who says, “Nice doggy”, gives them a little pat on the head and expects them to go lay down and be good.

th[8]Until we got this pup a year ago.  Our old dog had died and while I would have been content not to deal with dog hair and drool for a while, my husband really, really missed his dog. So, we got Chopper, a 6 week old Blue Heeler, freckle faced and fit-on-your-lap adorable.  For some reason my heart decided to bond.

He started out as a cute, energetic, curious little bundle of fur.  He’s a year and a half now and he has grown into a cute, energetic, curious big bundle of fur.  His body has matured, his character has not.  He still loves to race across the room and leap into your lap – even though he’s bigger than your lap. He still loves to shoot out the door the minute it’s opened. And he still doesn’t come back when you call him. He barks at anything that moves and being a working breed, will sneak up behind you if you aren’t paying attention and nip at your heels.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to teach him manners.  But it has become apparent that dog training is not my calling. He does respond to a short length of pool noodle bopping him on the noggin – but only if you happen to have it handy.

I have a dog toy that can be stuffed with peanut butter, designed to keep dogs entertained for hours.  It works – at least for a few minutes.  But then he wants more. And he just keeps asking and begging and pleading.

His worst habit is jumping on me when I come through the door.  I keep giving him the “down” command. And he responds – until the sound of my voice fades.

I try doggie discipline but he is so darn precious when he sinks down and looks at me with those big brown eyes. And then sneaks over and puts his head in my lap to eat up every bit of rubbing, petting and scratching I will dish out.

The real problem with this dog is me. He has a hold on my heart and no amount of disobedience on his part severs that tie. I’m always willing to forgive and expect that he will do better next time. I know that no matter how much peanut butter or dog treat I hand out, it will never be enough. I also know that he wants to do right, but he gets distracted and runs after every temptation, not weighing the consequences until it’s too late.

And I especially love the way he goes overboard welcoming me home when I’ve been away for a while. He knows I will most likely leave again but he still relishes every minute that I stay.

I was actually praying about it today – seeking some guidance on how I could master his disobedience and bring him into line, get him to stop running after every temptation and mind his master. But I was brought up short when I realized how much he and his master and my Master and I have in common.

How many times have I been the easily distracted little pup, running after things I shouldn’t and not listening to the voice that calls me back? And how many time have I been away and still found Him welcoming and excited when I return? When I’m close to His Word I bask in the affection that He pours out on me.  When I’m away from His Word I forget how wonderful it is until I find myself suffering the consequences and needing to slink my way back into the light of His love.

I think there is hope for my dog as long as I keep loving him and disciplining him when necessary. And I believe there is hope for me as long as my God keeps doing the same. And I know He will.

“…asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Col 1:10

 

 

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