Look for posts featuring wit and sarcasm from Edward St. Moritz any time now…
We called it the lurgie, from a hilariously wacky British radio comedy called the “Goon Show”. (link goes to their last show on BBC)
It was a cold, really. Or any kind of upper respiratory viral nastiness that made me sick enough to be up in the wee hours of the morning singing the song of its people.
That and a week of hard physical and mental labour at a job that does not provide sick days because of a provincial fiat removing that particular requirement from employers in the guise of “efficiencies”, I was essentially working sick because I could not afford to take the time off to get better.
Which meant that the weekend of Thanksgiving and my Queen Schweetie’s birthday had me a trainwreck of body and mood.
Nevertheless, I did put out the news of my discomfort on the electrons of social media, and my lovely friends offered many remedies.
I list them below in no particular order or efficacy:
A juice glass of Napoleon Brandy just before bed. Drink it like water. (I liked this one);
Vicks Vaporub® on the soles of my feet and socks over them, again just before retiring. (This brings back memories of the Vicks on my chest and throat and under the nose as a child);
Gargling warm salt water. (this one, too);
A Chinese cough syrup that is sweet enough to double as pancake syrup;
Oil of Oregano. (I can attest that this is a good thing. The taste is bloody awful – think of a distillation into a dropper of every spaghetti dinner with tomato sauce you’ve ever had, into the back of your throat. But it really, really works!);
Honey and fresh ginger tea. Laced with cayenne and diced raw onion. (This is good, too. I like to slice fresh turmeric and ground black pepper into the mix);
Hot bath with a cup of tea with rum. Or cup of rum with tea. (I don’t have a bath tub. Drinking tea and/or rum in the shower doesn’t seem to do it for me);
Natural honey and cinnamon (Always good for what ails you).
The kindness of friends knows no bounds. My thanks to you – you know who you are.
As of this writing I am feeling a bit better. The night cough has lessened and doesn’t sound as if I’m horking a lung out on the pillow.
And the brandy tasted good. I bought a Bowmore single malt for reinforcement.
I believe the Lurgie is leaving the building
And here’s the thing.
I finished a gig at the Haliburton Highlands brewery about a month ago. It’s in an area of the province where I served as a United Church Minister for five years back in 1987 – 1992.
It was the place that when scarce years after I had been ordained I started to doubt my calling to the ministry.
There were friends I had made outside the church, because, at the time, it was not a good idea to make too many within the walls of the sanctuary.
The long and short of it was some ten years after I moved on from that place, the initial doubts about my calling turned into a full-fledged crisis of faith and sanity. I became seriously mentally unfit to do the work that hitherto I thought I had been called to. I quit the church and the Christian faith.
More than a decade and a half later I return as someone different, but the same.
Besh, an old friend of mine, had written in a post commenting on a picture of me in dog-collared finery, staring out at the camera, glasses slightly askew, a deer in the headlights of Jesus.
This is what he said:
“Thank you for your service, Ed.”
That was it.
Besh had never been a member of my congregation, indeed never been in any area where I had served.
Somehow he understood on a level far deeper than what I was able to perceive at the time, that what I had done in the years as minister was serve in a strange way comparable to what he had done in the Armed Forces.
And he identified with that action in such a way so as to thank me for that service.
We met a few weeks later for breakfast in the town where I live. When I mentioned this to him, he pointed out, “You never know how many hundreds or even thousands of people you touched and changed because of your time in that capacity.”
Indeed I don’t. People shared with me their grief, celebration, perplexity, doubt, joy, frustration, accomplishment, courage, and vulnerability. I listened and did what I could. And I tried to interpret the teachings of a first-century Palestinian rabbi to a twentieth-century mind. Sometimes I was clear. Most times I was as confused as the rest of us human beings.
And now, no longer in that arena, I play in another one. Sometimes clear, most times still confused.
Still amazed, humbled, and grateful.