Friday, August 22, 2008

An under-the-weather day

Yesterday I woke up with the most bizarre of sicknesses. It wasn’t a fever, because my thermometer said 96 degrees. It wasn’t the flu, because I didn’t really throw up. (I had the dry heaves once, but nothing really came of it.) It wasn’t a cold, because I didn’t have a runny nose. It wasn’t a sinus infection, because my boogers weren’t green. It wasn’t a cough or a sore throat. I didn’t know what it was, so I gave it a name based on the symptoms I had.

I decided to call it “Burpy Vertigo”. That’s exactly what it was. I burped a lot and I was incredibly dizzy. (Warning: I am about to go into detail...)

The burping was really strange. I felt like I had an endless supply of air bubbles to get rid of and it wouldn’t come out with one big EERRRRRRRRRP. No, it had to be removed piecemeal. About every few minutes I had to have a 30 second burping session to get rid of the discomfort. I was afraid to swallow my saliva for fear I would somehow swallow more air and make it worse.

The vertigo was also very weird. I had vertigo even while lying in bed. I couldn’t lie on my back and look at the ceiling, because the world would begin to spin in the most unaccountably vicious way. I couldn’t even turn my head up to a 45 degree angle because the room would begin to revolve. I had lie on my side and keep one ear flush with the pillow at all times.

I was a little worried about the vertigo. My mom went on a cruise back in the late ‘90s and came home with vertigo that lasted for a year and I really hoped that a case of year-long dizziness hadn’t come to call on me too (though I had done no cruising whatsoever). Fortunately I happened to talk on the phone with my church choir director who, when I told her what I called my malady, said, “Oh! I had the same thing earlier this week!” Aha! It was only a bug that was going around.

In the morning when I was lying on my side, I dutifully opened my scriptures and they came to Ether 3 and I read this verse:
O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires. (Ether 3:2)
I read that plea of the brother of Jared that the Lord not be angry because of his weakness and I thought of my sickness that I had suddenly hit by and I felt to echo that prayer in my own way. O Lord, be not angry because of my mortal weakness and sickness, and how I can not serve thee today as I had hoped and planned yesterday. All I could do was lie in bed and play games on my palm pilot. (I think I played 37 games of Bejeweled.) It was an act of bravery just to get up briefly and get the phone and call a few people to let them know I couldn’t go to cub scout pack meeting or help babysit.

I had to count my blessings though. 1) School hadn’t started yet, so I wasn’t missing classes. School starts in 3 days and I could have gotten sick then. 2) I had a nice bed to lie in, with warm blankets. 3) I wasn’t missing work. We had intensive tutor training just the two day before and it could have hit then, but it didn’t. 4) I wasn’t feeling sick to my stomach like my choir director had, so I knew I would probably be feeling better the next day, whereas she had it for 3 or 4 days.

The dizziness was so odd that I really wondered what was causing it. I knew the inner ear was somehow affected, because that is what facilitates our balance and perception of up, down, and sideways. How nice it is when our inner ear works and we can walk straight and ride bikes and do all sorts of other things!

I think our conscience is kind of like our inner ear too. It tells us which way is good and which way is bad. We are out in a dizzying world, one that reels to and fro like a drunken man, one that likes to call good things bad and bad things good. It calls things “wicked” when it approves and says “great” sarcastically when it doesn’t.

I know that we can find rest from this moral vertigo when we come to Christ. Repenting of our sins heals our conscience, that spiritual inner ear, and we come to know what kind of person He was, we learn to see the world through His eyes with vision that is always steady.


Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to hear you've been under the weather. I've taken some time to look through your blog posts and think you're well on your way to becoming addicted to the world that is blogging.... ;)

I read through some of your Isaiah book and think it's fantastic you're trying to make the book come alive for teenagers. Heaven knows, plenty of adults could use their fair share of enlightening in that regard as well. Hopefully when your children reach their teens it would provide you with exactly the tools you need to help them face the challenges unique to our day.

One of your posts I read dealt with the herd of swine of Matthew 8. I've found certain aspects of the account puzzling myself. Just this evening I came across a quote by Joseph Smith that I thought you might find interesting:

"Jesus commanded him to come out of the man, and the Devil besought him that he might enter into a herd of swine nearby. For the Devil knew they were a covetous people, and if he could kill their hogs,they would drive Jesus out of their coasts, and he then would have tabernacle[s] enough."

The original source is from the Words of Joseph Smith, although I got it out of a book compiled and edited by Kent Jackson, "Joseph Smith's Commentary On the Bible."

Keep up the good word, and thanks for dropping by 'Mormon Conversation.'

Michaela Stephens said...

Very interesting point.. Covetousness is certainly very powerful.