Right now, all three of the males in our household are lying down, and it is 3pm on a Wednesday. In the past four days, all of them have had fevers, ranging from 101 degrees to 103 degrees, and they are all coughing like crazy. The other fun stuff, I will not describe. Needless to say, Joel, Frankie, and Johnny have had a miserable few days.
So far, I have been able to stay healthy and keep track of all the medications. Johnny is on 6 meds right now - some are to be taken twice a day, some three times a day, and one is taken once a day. Frankie is on 3 meds - all to be taken 3 times a day. Fortunately, Joel can keep track of his own pills! It seems the medication is helping; Johnny's fever is finally gone, and he was the first to bring this lovely bug into our house. So, I have every expectation that over the next few days, Frankie and Joel will follow suit.
Our house has never, ever been this quiet, with all of us home. Other than the coughing, the boys are wiped out, and it is odd to have so much silence. I keep praying for their health, praying for God's presence, and praying for people who don't have access to the medicine and the doctors that help us when we are unwell. Having a sick family makes me feel so powerless, but it is a powerful reminder of all the safety nets in our lives.
We have also had many phone calls and messages from Zambian friends, checking on the family, and reminding us of their prayers. In a country where so many people get sick, where children often fall ill and then die, I am overwhelmed by the consistent compassion and concern we receive. Our friend Elizabeth came to pray for Johnny while she was on her way to a funeral. A 30 year old man, the father of two young children, had just died. He was on a waiting list for surgery, and the surgery did not come soon enough. His young widow will now raise the children on her own.
The sickness in our family will pass. It is a pain to remember all the medicines. It is sad to see the boys in pain. It is frustrating when their fevers rise again. But we have every reason to believe that our health will be fine, that the medicine will work, that our doctors know what they are doing. And so, in this quiet time of sick, sleeping boys, I pray for those who have to say good-bye, for those who are desperate for medicine, for those who are terrified that someone they love will not make it. I pray for a world were health care is available to all people, where medicine is a right, where diarrhea and asthma and malaria do not kill anyone. I pray for Justin's children, and Elizabeth's friend, and Nathan's aunt, and Lecton's daughter, and so many, so many people.
But soon, I will get back up, and distribute medicine to my loved ones, and thank God for what we have; I will hug my children and live in hope. Because that is what my Zambian friends do. That is what we all can do. Live in hope, live in love, live in compassion, live in generosity, live in faith.
I know that you can't come into my living room today, knock on our door and walk on in to offer a prayer. But, I do invite you to pray with us anyway, not just for the healing of my family, but for a world where all people have access to the drugs, the care, the doctors they need. So let us pray together...