Getting sick doesn’t have to be bad news

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Rev. Walter Klockers

How has your health been for the past few months? Overall, I’ve done pretty good job of taking care of myself.

Way back in October, I did experience a bump in the road. For the first time, I had a reaction to my annual flu shot. My ears started filling with fluid. I ended up battling that middle-ear problem for quite a while.

A doctor shared with me that the most recent flu immunization had “a little extra oomph to it,” which led to more cases like mine.

Over the past few months, there were a lot of folks around me that were catching one bug or another — the common cold, various stomach viruses, the full-blown flu, or “the crud,” among other things. I was so very thankful to have avoided these germs.

Here is what I have in my anti-illness arsenal bag: an annual flu shot, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, dressing in layers, never going outside for a minute or two without a jacket on, a daily dose of elderberry syrup, handwashing, and use of hand sanitizer.

As a minister, my calling is a public one. During a typical week, I meet a good many people. I may greet them with a handshake, a hug, sit and talk with them, and offer prayer. I make hospital visits to be with the sick. So, I am exposed to a lot; much more so than most, I believe.

If I should become lax in how I take care of myself, I have a greater chance of picking up one of those nasty bugs. If I should become ill, this negatively affects my ministry with others. It temporarily puts much of it on hold, which is not good.

Unfortunately, I have to report that I did pick up “the crud” about a week ago, in spite of all my best efforts to avoid getting sick. Thankfully the worst is now over and I’m on the healing end of things.

I believe that there is good that may come from illness. For me, it is a reminder of my mortality. Through it, there is an opportunity for greater awareness; that every precious breath I take is a gift from God, and not to take it for granted.

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.

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