Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.

A Christmas Miracle?

I don’t want to brag, but I am a bit of a Christmas miracle, right in your midst!

Every year I hope it won’t happen. I eat right (mostly). I exercise (usually). I try to keep the stress of the season and the calendar at bay every year. And this year, I really thought I’d done it. With the latest variant making its path through the systems of the island, we decided to do a fully online Christmas Pageant. I was relaxed, packed, and ready to go on leave. I would do one of the most joyous services of the year—the No-Rehearsal Christmas Pageant—and then for the first time in three years, not be sick.

See, for the past two years, I was either sick at the pageant or became very sick right after the pageant, but I felt great and ready to go this year. My friend came over to take me to the airport, and then in about an hour or so, I went from mostly fine (a little upset stomach likely from a hastily blended blueberry and banana smoothie) to being violently and distressingly ill. Was it the months-old Korean chili paste I added to my fried rice? Was it a blueberry past its time? Was it a flu? Whatever it was, it won.

I called the reservations desk for the airline and said that I was ill and I didn’t think I should get on a plane. The agent responded with the kind of exasperation only two years of near constant disarray and confusion can forge: “PLEASE DON’T!” I heeded her advice and lay low. Ritz crackers and green tea saw me through the next few days until I could be tested for COVID, and I was negative. My symptoms actually were much worse than many of my friends who’d had COVID, so I had a strange envy.

A friend told me once that in her faith and culture, if you do something three years in a row, it becomes a tradition. Being ill on the same calendar day three years in a row has made me wonder whether my body is observing its own set of rituals. Is my body going out on the town and wearing down its immune system without me? Is it up to something I don’t know about? I don’t say this to brag, but I have not taken a single sick day while serving here at First Unitarian. Every illness I’ve had has come during a vacation or study leave.

Perhaps my psyche has absorbed the Puritan work ethic to such a degree that I can’t bring myself to take a sick day. Perhaps my body has a calendar it keeps that I’m going to have to get used to. Perhaps there really is more going on in our bodies than our minds can ever fully know. But whatever traditions your body is carrying out without you, I hope they bring you good health and good cheer in this new year. And if they don’t, from one miracle to another, I feel your pain.

In good health to you all,

Rev. T. J.

5 Responses to “Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.

  1. Oh no, that’s horrible! My dad always either gets sick or manages to injure himself on trips, and my mom is long-suffering. I do hope you manage to break that “tradition,” though! Take care, Rev. T. J. 🤗

  2. I got sick every
    christmas break during grad school – and I had no health insurance. Every year I would drink a gallon of Welch’s grape juice and got well. When the constant stress of doing your job (whatever it is) finally lets down, you body can finally let down to. I feel you pain. So glad you got well. So sorry you missed Christmas with your family. Welcome back to health. Love you.

  3. How awful, Rev. T.J., that you got so sick and couldn’t go on your trip! Hopefully, next year, this “tradition” will get broken.❤️Jill

  4. I am so sorry you were sick. It does remind me of when I was a little girl. It seemed during Christmas break in school, we (my 2 brothers and 1 sister) and I would get sick with whatever disease was happening at school. No fun during the Christmas holidays. My poor mother.
    I hope you are well next Christmas. Bless You.

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