I was watching what could arguably be referred to as the game of the year with my parents last week. The Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions were playing each other with the divisional title on the line. Green Bay’s quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, was already playing with a calf injury, and as a result, he wasn’t able to move around as easily as he made plays. It was about midway through the game when he took a hit and went down. Instantly, I knew this couldn’t be good. The backup quarterback would have to come in because there was no way he was going to finish that game, especially since he was carted off the field.
The next quarter began, and Matt Flynn came in as quarterback, but all the while my thoughts were stuck on Aaron Rodgers. I wondered about his level of frustration. Sure, he was in pain, but part of me figured he was more upset about not being able to play than anything else.
I certainly could relate. You see, I had just faced a difficult Christmas season. Ten days before Christmas, I came down with what I assumed to be the flu: mild fever, aches, and a cough. Within three days, I was feeling more like myself, but the cough was still there. I wasn’t surprised; I have asthma and with any cold, a cough seems to linger after I’ve been sick. But something about this cough was different. I found I just couldn’t stop the irritation in my throat, and the more I coughed, the worse my voice became. Before long, my voice was down to a whisper. It didn’t hurt to speak; I just couldn’t get anything out.
In frustration, I went into urgent care to get it checked out. I was hoping that they could give me something for the cough so I could get my voice back. After all, it was three days before Christmas Eve and I needed to sing at the service. The nurse practitioner examined me and determined that I would need a chest X-ray to rule out anything serious, and reluctantly, I agreed. I told her that they probably wouldn’t find anything because I felt fine; I just had this pesky cough and no voice.
The nurse came back to the exam room after my X-ray to deliver the disheartening news. She said it was good that they had done an X-ray because they had found pneumonia. She prescribed a five-day antibiotic and an albuterol inhaler. She said I might not feel 100% by Christmas Eve but that I should be on the mend soon.
The next few days were rough, and the antibiotics slowly made their presence known. I was alone a lot and frustrated that I couldn’t go to the many Christmas parties I had been looking forward to. Friends dropped off food and goodies, and everyone was so kind, but I still felt like life had been put on hold. I watched everyone else hustle and bustle about, going to this party and that party, while I was sidelined at home.
But gradually, I began to feel better. My coughing was suppressed and I was just tired. I didn’t want to over-do it, but I found myself itching to go out. By the time Christmas Eve had come around, I was all set to at least play the piano even though I couldn’t sing. But well-meaning friends on the worship team had already come up with plan B. They had someone willing to play for me so that I could stay home and get some rest. They didn’t think I would have the energy to play for the Christmas Eve service.
When I got that disappointing message, I broke into tears. My secretary saw my reaction and proceeded to reach over and give me a hug. She wasn’t afraid of getting sick, she told me, and as she held on tight, I felt a peace come over me. I could do this, and my secretary agreed with me. No, I wouldn’t be able to sing, but I could at least play for the team and be a part of this special service.
So I contacted the worship team and told them that I was feeling well enough to play for them and that I would not miss this service for anything. So when Christmas Eve came around, I sat at the piano and accompanied the team. But my heart longed to sing, so toward the end of the service as we sang “Silent Night,” I found my voice. It was raspy and low-pitched, but I found the tenor harmony and lifted my voice with the others. It wasn’t ideal, but at least I was able to contribute to the final moments of the service.
So as I watched Aaron Rodgers being carted off the field in the divisional game, I could relate. Just like Aaron, I had been sidelined; he was forced to leave one of the most important games of the season and my voice had been compromised at the time of the year when my voice was most needed. But in the end, I learned something from the experience. True, it was frustrating; I felt as if my Christmas had been ruined for a time and that perhaps I would never feel better. Even the week after Christmas, my voice was still quite rough and I could barely sing “Joy to the World” the Sunday following the holiday, but I had to look at the bright side.
If I hadn’t gone into the clinic and been diagnosed with pneumonia when I did, my condition may have gotten worse and I may have been forced to be in the hospital over Christmas. Talk about how disappointing that would be— to spend Christmas in the hospital! But instead, I had been able to at least play the piano for the service. It wasn’t ideal, but in the midst of the plan B that we had to put into action, I was able to hear the beautiful voice of our team member, Vanessa, as she took lead on a song that was typically mine. It was her moment to shine, and since there was nothing else I could do about it, I allowed myself to take joy in that experience instead of wallow in what could have been.
In the end, Aaron came back into the game. He was limping and probably in a great deal of pain, but I could tell he was determined to finish that game. He pushed through this difficult situation to help his team achieve a victory. And in my case, I hope I was able to do the same with my team on Christmas Eve. I felt I could still be a leader and help my team be successful even though I wasn’t at the top of my game, health-wise. Like Aaron, I wasn’t sidelined for very long, but even so, I learned valuable lessons that will carry me into the weeks and months to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s