The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

May 11, 2009


I have been sick. I have been sick, not in the seriously sick way of disease, just in the grinding boring way of endless minor infections that seem to have attacked my body off and on for the past three months.

I know I am not alone. And I do not mean to whine, or even to complain. My little list of irritants is nothing compared to what so many people suffer. It seems almost pathetic to mention a sore throat, runny nose, oozy eyes, little fevers, achy head, and rasping throat in the light of cancer, heart disease, AIDS. But I want to try to hear the voice of my infection, to understand the message my familiar afflictions bear.

To be sick in any form is to be made aware of human frailty. Life does not run smoothly. I do not always get what I want. There are things that are difficult, painful and unpleasant in every life. Everyone has something with which they struggle. Why should I for one minute think I should be exempt?

Sickness confronts me starkly with the most basic choice of human life. Either I resist and fight against my sickness or I accept and embrace the reality of my body.

Perhaps it sounds strange to think of embracing sickness. But, sickness is just another part of life. Sickness accepted has the capacity to open me to a deeper place in myself. This is the place from which true health may come because sickness confronts me with the reality of my weakness. And it is only as I accept my weakness that I can be made well.

Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) It is strange we so often think that only our strength will be attractive. In reality, it is weakness embraced with grace that allows the beauty of Christ’s presence to shine in our lives.

If I allow my physical struggles to do their work, I will find they soften my heart and allow true beauty to radiate through the cracks in my life. In this way perhaps I no longer need to view sickness as my enemy; perhaps in sickness I can find a friend.

1 comment:

Bob MacDonald said...

Christopher - sorry to hear of your state - I recovered recently from a nasty long cold just in time for Easter - I considered it a symbol of the rebuilding of my old tenor voice - a hope of renewal, a sign of the time of refreshing.

I was blessed with a Shabat Shalom from a Jewish employee and the weekend was special including what seems significant improvement in my nearly 39 year old son who had a serious accident causing brain damage 12.5 years ago. He gave us a marvelous Mother's Day present - cleaning up part of our dead storage in the basement.

I bring every complaint into my prayers - as I am sure you do - Rowan WIlliam's poetry has amused me in this area - calling us humans snot-making machines! Get better soon.

Job said he would comfort his friends if they were in the same straits (well sort-of) - I hope my words are strengthening.

From chapter 16: first rough cut

Even I myself as you could speak
if your lives were in the place of mine
I could cobble speeches against you
and wag my head over you
(but) I would rather uphold you with my mouth
and the flutter of my lips would spare you

I think that catches the gist. Be spared