The teeth chattering started on Saturday morning while I was walking through the mall in order to avoid sitting in the awkward Big O Tires waiting room for three hours. I was wearing a fleece-lined jacket, but blamed the goose bumps on walking through a cavernous mall during a never-ending rainstorm. Because I have the sweetest husband in the world, he came to keep me company and give me a hoodie to wear under my jacket.
Fast forward 24 hours. I am actually shaking uncontrollably on the couch while attempting to the read the newspaper. I hobble back into bed where Dalton is still sleeping. He is a human space heater, so I snuggle up as close as possible to his back and pull the duvet up to my chin, still shivering so hard I was sure the entire mattress was rattling. All of the commotion was enough to wake Dalton up. Instinctly, he put hand to forehead, then hand to cheek. Once I was warm enough, he hopped up and retrieved the thermometer from the cupboard. The white stick beeped 103.2. I thought it may pass within the hour. This is how I think. My head throbbed so hard it required effort to open my eyes. All my back muscles tightened as if they were trying to keep the heat from escaping.
The next things I know Dalton has his church clothes on. He is reading the lesson, he is bringing me ice water, he is putting damp cloths on my head, he is fetching the Ibuprofen. No questions. My first reaction is to say, "No, no, no ... I just need to close my eyes for second. I'll make it to church. No, don't worry, I can go get another blanket."
Dalton didn't give me the option to do any of the things that were part of my usual routine. This fever routine happened five times total before the beast decided to leave me a lone. My fever would break, I would sigh with relief, and then I would groan in anger each time the shakes started again. Husband wasn't bothered. In fact, I think he was delighted that after a busy school year, the tables had turned and he was in control of the house and my well being. I should have known he would have been happy to take care of me no matter the circumstance, but we just get into these endless routines and life goes by so fast you forget to need other people when you can't function on your own. Looking back, I couldn't be more grateful that a slew of fevers forced me to get over myself and allow the person who loves me most to show it. And it was so effortless.
I was even lucky enough to come home to Dalton on Monday for my lunch break as the shakes were in full force, you see, his internship was originally going to start this week, but was pushed to next week. Someone is looking out for me.
It's because of experiences like this that I know getting married is the healthiest thing I've ever done. Yes, it's been great for my physical health--I have a built-in hydration service when I' not feeling well--but it has been even better for my mental and emotional health. Throughout the 6 years that I've known Dalton I've developed an understanding of deep love, which, to me, is Christ's love. I have also slowly realized that I am capable of being loved on this level, and I have learned to apply this deep love to myself, though I've struggled with this for the better part of 20 years.
Those that know me fairly well will agree that I don't ask for help if I know how to do something on my own, even if it means slipping into madness to complete a task. While I know I need help, I don't want to be a burden or make anyone put their plans aside for my benefit. But when I do allow people in, the definition of love is made clear to me again.
I also know that by allowing Dalton to be needed, he is fulfilling an immense purpose in this life. Some of my worst days are those where I accomplish nothing and I go to bed unsatisfied. And I know Dalton is the same way. In my experience, the people who are most unhappy feel unneeded in this life. So please, need people. Then let in the people that need you. You'll find your deepest purposes in life this way.