Lysol, dogs, and Jesus.
Last week, my daughter Rachel came down with the flu. She was miserable for two days, coughing, wheezing, feverish. She slept most of the time. Of course, because we love her so much, Melissa and I did everything we could to nurse her back to health. And of course, because I love her so much, I came down with the flu too.
My treatment looked a little differently, though. People don’t take nearly as much sympathy on a grown man with a cough as they do for a vivacious 11-year old.
No one was at risk of catching anything from me.
I spent most of my week in quarantine. Sequestered to my bedroom, I studied, wrote, prayed, read, and even made several phone calls. My meals were delivered to me on a tray so that I wouldn’t be tempted to come out among the living. And when I did come out, people exercised “healthy boundaries”, giving me a wide berth everywhere I went.
My wife even followed me around with a can of Lysol, spraying every surface I came in contact with.
On Monday, when we had staff meeting, my wonderful staff showed their solidarity by sitting at the far end of the conference table.
I felt loved.
The exception to all of those who were keeping a safe distance from me at all costs was my dog, Charlie. He never left my side. When I slept, he lay at the foot of my bed. When I ate, he sat at attention, just like he always does, hoping for a stray morsel to come his way. When I would get up, he would excitedly go to the door hoping it was time to play. He didn’t seem to care that I was a walking cesspool of germs, and even though his incessant nudging at my hand in an effort to get out of bed and go do something normal was annoying at times, it was good to know that he was there.
There is a lot we can learn about the love of God from dogs. Even when we are at our worse, God is there. Even when we are coughing up all kinds of nastiness and we haven’t showered in a couple of days, God is there. Even when we are grumpy and feeling sorry for ourselves, God doesn’t give up on us. This is why Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angles nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
No matter how badly you may feel about your present condition, know that God still loves you. No matter how disappointed you may be in yourself, know that God hasn’t given up on you. You are loved. You are accepted. You are worth more than you could ever fathom.
Of course, I don’t blame my family or my friends for staying away. And if the situation is ever reversed, I’d probably use the whole can of Lysol. I kind of like the way it smells.
I pray your day is filled with healing, joy and laughter.