It starts small. Bedtime. A determined tickle in the left tonsil. Within a hour your entire body signals “something is seriously wrong.”

At sunup you make a drug store run to stock up. Throat spray. Lozenges. Motrin. still a brave little trooper, you endure the morning. A sore throat and minor body aches are your only symptoms.

Mid-day, the fever strikes. Every sometimes-achy body part now begins to scream for attention. Knees. Neck. Low back. Wrists. Ankles. Head. Fingers. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. The demands of the day leave no room for a much needed nap.

Grateful for the throat spray and lozenges, you use them with abandon. You also begin to drink huge amounts of Breathe Easy tea, not heeding the warning against overuse which clearly states that the product may cause digestive upset. At 2 a.m., when you are violently retching the contents of you stomach into the toilet, you remember the cautions on the tea envelop. With deep regret. You are sick all night.

By morning, your voice is gone. Gone. You are Sick. Sick. Sick. Fever is up. Head ache blinding. You draw the shades, pull the pillow over your head and hope to sleep until you are well. Phrases like, “weak as a kitten” no longer sound like cliches to you.

Without a voice, you are unable to call out to your hubby for help. You find this annoying. You find everything annoying.

When he burns his dinner in the kitchen, filling the house with smoke that burns your lungs to breathe, you try to holler at him to open the windows to bring in some fresh air, but no sound comes out. You are Angry! Angry! Angry! You struggle from your sick bed to give him a piece of your mind. You take your best, “I am angry” fists-on-hips stance in the doorway, and begin to squeak to the back of his head. He cannot hear you over the sound of the television. This makes you angrier still.

Sigh. You open the windows. Now he notices. The air conditioning is on. He is upset. You are not supposed to open the windows when the air conditioning is on.

“I tried to tell you!” you squeak.

“I didn’t hear you.” he says.

Sigh. It is good that you have no voice. There is nothing but “ugly” inside you right now. Dealing with the illness has you feeling like one raw nerve ending. Go back to bed. You are not fit for company tonight.

This is day three. Still no voice. The tickle is back. An annoying cough has started. The nose is beginning to run. Oh no. The fever is controlled with Motrin. Fortunately, it is Saturday. There are few demands today. This be another “in bed” day.

You try not to concern yourself with commitments for the upcoming week, but there is a reservation at a conference center for Monday night that may need to be cancelled. Huge disappointment. You know that you would not want to sit next to someone with “this” at a conference. Sigh.

In all likelihood, you know, in your deepest knowing part, that your body is wonderfully made. You know that fever is a sigh that you are fighting the attack – you immune system is at work. You know that this discomfort is temporary. You know that, if all else fails, there are doctors and medicines to give greater assistance. You are fairly confident that this will pass.

For the majority of us, most of our days are spent in relatively good health. Days like these are infrequent interruptions to our ordinary lives. In this moment – the morning of “day three” of my respiratory infection, I am acutely aware of those who deal with chronic health conditions, or are, perhaps, dealing with a terminal condition that won’t resolve itself in a few days as mine will. they have no assurance that “this will pass” because unless God intervenes in a supernatural way, it won’t.

Certainly, my little illness has provided opportunity for me to cry out to The Great Physician for healing. You can be very sure that while I was wrapped around the toilet at 2 a.m., I was crying out very loudly! I know God was present.

In this moment, I am crying out also with those who cry out with chronic or terminal conditions. Oh God, be a manifest presence with them. Be “an ever present help in time of trouble.” You have promised that even when we travel through the valley of the shadow of death you are with us. Be with them in a way they can see, touch, taste, smell, feel, hear. Hear the cries of the heart of the ones who have no voice. Holy Spirit, intercede for them. Speak for them.

Thank you for this “speechless” time in my life. Thank you for the privilege of intercession.

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Someone once asked, “If you could relive one day of your life, what day would it be, and why?”

Aaron Copland’s “Our Town: Grover’s Corner” theme begins to hum nostalgically in my mind as childhood memory after childhood memory begs to be relived in this moment. But even in the trying to decide which day to relive, those memories rob this present moment of its beauty. They are a distraction.

Life is to be lived in present tense. Sadly, most of us fail to realize life while we live it. We are too busy living in our past, or worrying about our future.

Thornton Wilder eloquently taught this truth in his play, Our Town. Wilder’s dear and tragic Emily, having died too soon, was then given the opportunity to go back to try to relive the morning of her 12th birthday, Emily summed it up beautifully. She asked, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?”

This minute matters. Don’t miss it.

They used to say, “Your name should be Pollyanna, not Diana!”
They used to say, “You look at the world through rose colored glasses!”

They don’t say that anymore.

I’ve lost my rose-colored glasses.
I’ve lost my naiveté

I view life with glaring clarity!
I view the world through the lens of Truth.
–Truth the Person, not truth the noun.

I view all I see through the blood of Christ
And the view is beautiful from here!

I’ve lost my rose-colored glasses
And I do not want them back!

Create in me, Oh Lord, a thankful spirit

Open my lips and my mouth shall show forth your praise!

In this moment, let me see

and love

and live

the joy of Your presence!

this precious moment!

this abundant life.

Teach me to live

in gratitude

Remind me to overflow

with gratitude

for the very air I breathe

this beat of my heart

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the last

then I’ll stand face to face

with you

at the end of my journey

and fall at your feet

in worship

in gratitude

My little house wren has a new girlfriend. I’m glad.

For several days now, he has been singing a melancholy song in his search for a new mate. Apparently, his last has flown the coop.

I was surprised earlier this Spring, when this melodic fellow and his first “wife” set up housekeeping in what I thought was a decorative birdhouse just outside my office window. However decorative, it must have fit the bill.

According to my research, house wrens aren’t fussy. They will build nests in just about anything, including old tires.

A couple of weeks later tiny “cheep, cheep, cheep” sounds emerged from the tiny hole, confirming that the wrens had, indeed, successfully produced babies. It has been a flurry of activity ever since. My deck has never been so “spider-free.”

Suddenly the activity ceased. The female and babies had disappeared, and my feathered friend began the solitary job of delivering new sticks to the nest. Rebuilding. His song had changed. He cried out in a long drawn out sad, “seeking” call.

My internet sources indicate that the fledglings have fledged. In some cases wrens mate for the season. In others, for whatever reason, the birds separate. The mommy leaves and cares for the fledglings alone. Daddy goes on and seeks a new mate. Bird divorce.

Am I witnessing a bird first date after a bird divorce? How bitter-sweet.

At this point, my handsome husband would probably interject, “Diana, you are anthropomorphizing.” Could be. I’ve been guilty of that.

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. It is also the 22nd anniversary of our first date. We were both married 20 years the first time around in each of our respective marriages. For each of us, it was our first date after our divorces. I think it is no coincidence that my sweet little house wren is having his first post-divorce date on our anniversary.

I wonder if it is as awkward for him as it was for us. Beginning again is always awkward. Beginning again at 39 years old is excruciating!

It was a blind date. Our mutual divorce attorney set us up.

I was sitting at my desk at work that day soooo many years ago, when HH (handsome hubby) first called. He said, “We have a mutual friend… can we meet?”

I said, “No. I don’t know you. I’ve just exited a relationship and I’m not interested in dating.” (Truth be told, I felt old, ugly, used up, and terrified!)

He said, “Well, can I at least have your home phone number so we can talk on the phone and get acquainted?” Thus began a telephone friendship that spanned several months before I finally consented to our first face-to-face real live date. To the zoo. On a Sunday afternoon. I figured, “If he is Jack the Ripper, at least there will be a crowd around to rescue me.”

Actually, his invitation to the zoo was what nailed it. The zoo is one of my favorite places. Touring the zoo with a veterinarian sounded like an interesting twist.

When he arrived at my door, my knees were knocking so hard they hardly held me up. I couldn’t describe his face that day, because I couldn’t look at it. I was too nervous. I only have impressions. I knew he was taller than I, slender, and that he smelled good. Ohmygoodness. He smelled good. I knew he had gentle-looking hands and was very polite.

I, on the other hand, was a buffoon. I tripped over my feet, my words and him all day long. I was a fool and prayed he didn’t notice. It was my first date in over 20 years. His too.

At the zoo, all of the animals decided it was mating season – just as we walked by their exhibit! Even the tortoises! There was nowhere to look! We must have been excreting pheromones or something that day and driving all of the zoo animals crazy!

I sit here, watching the male house wren, courting his gal, and she, acting so coy as she shyly inspects his nest and dodges his eager advances. I wonder how it will be for them.

As for me. I am so grateful. Who would have known 22 years ago that the face I was so afraid to look into was one that would become as familiar to me as my own? …that he would always smell wonderful to me? …that I still trip over my feet, my words and him all day long, but he has become quite adept at catching me. That’s the part of the joy of life together.

So, little wren, happy July 3. We mark this day with you. It’s a day made for new beginnings!