Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ego Wussus Sum

I am a wus.  I don’t think there’s any other way to put it.  I got diagnosed with strep on Monday afternoon; I had gone to the doc because of a mild sore throat and the fact that I have to help Beloved-but-Expensive-Daughter move into a new apartment on Saturday – it’s important to make sure I get over anything that ails me before then.  I started the antibiotics, but I wasn’t feeling bad until Monday evening, when I pretty much crashed.  Didn’t get back out of bed until about 5 PM Tuesday.  That’s not the wussy part I’m talking about – if one is out of it, one is out of it and there’s not much to be done.

I feel mostly better today – the antibiotics are kicking in, the little cocci should be dying like, well, like bacteria in an antibiotic medium, and most of my symptoms should be the result of my immune system clearing up the little coccoid corpses.  My main complaint is that my throat hurts.  It feels like there’s an open sore way down deep on the left side of my throat – most likely because there really is an open sore way down deep on the left side of my throat.  And that sore is totally preoccupying my life.  I stopped on the way into work and spent 10 bucks on medications to hopefully make the sore less sore; I brought a 12-pack of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke™ with which to soothe myself; I have a hard time concentrating for more than the length of time in between having to swallow; I feel somewhat put-upon for being expected to show up at the office when I’m in such pain.

What sort of first-century Christian would I have made?  I like to think I’m faithful, but how firm would I have stood the first time the Romans brought out some pointy-pinchy torture thingy and shoved it in front of my face?  “Yeah, I guess Caesar deserves a little sacrifice.”  I like to think I’m courageous, but show me a branding iron and I will likely tell you in exactly which catacomb we meet on Sundays.  

I think it comes down to the fact that, in my heart of hearts, I fear the things of this world more than I fear God – quite the opposite of Matthew 10:28.  I am smart enough to know that this is a VBT (Very Bad Thing), but I don’t seem to be able to do much about it.  The only hope for improvement lies with God, who knows what I am and, for some unfathomable reason, cares anyway.  In the meantime, I can only cringe when I look at a guy like Paul.

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one--I am talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.   (2Co 11:23-28, RSV)

And I can’t handle a sore throat.