At the beginning of November 2009 I contracted swine flu, which developed into pneumonia.
Living alone and not wanting to go into hospital, I was able to conceal for a week or so the seriousness of my condition from others, saying that I was suffering from my annual dose of flu. By the time my family knew how ill I had really been the 'crisis' was over yet recovery was slow, being almost three months before I felt strong enough to step foot outdoors again. By that time I had lost about three stone, (forty pounds approx.) in weight and appeared to be the embodiment of walking death.
During this time I made one call to NHS direct and was prescribed Tamiflu which my daughter collected for me. As I wanted to see this through at home, I did not own up that I could not sleep lying down. I saw a doctor only when I was well on the way to recovery and was strong enough to leave the house. Living on my own the decision was mine, alone. This event was between me and God and I have never felt so completely loved, guided, watched over and comforted.
I will not list the symptoms that accompanied my illness, except to say that they were numerous, including visions and hallucinations. There is a difference which we instinctively know, it seems to me. In an out of consciousness, prayer was my thought process. I took care of all my necessities, that is, getting fresh water, washing, changing sweat soaked sheets and making bathroom visits, with the strength which comes from prayer and knowing that Jesus was with me at every step of the way. I was sleeping only for minutes at a time sitting up. The discomfort of the coughing is indescribable, having a only a few minutes respite between each coughing bout, day and night. This went on for weeks, gradually reducing.
Needless to say the violent coughing does nothing to improve the voice. Far from it, my breathing rhythm was now erratic as I was taking in small, sharp, noisy breaths and unsurprisingly my larynx had also suffered.
Who knows why we do the things that we do?
One year later I found myself reading chapters from the Holy Bible into a microphone and publishing them over the Internet. Although I love to read the bible I knew that they were very poor quality readings, my voice was weak and husky, it took great effort to make clear vowel sounds and because I over-emphasised them whilst trying to disguise my 'estuary English' they sounded ridiculously phony. I knew this and also that I was laying myself open to ridicule, yet felt compelled to continue without a wisp of a cloud of doubt. I was certain that there was a good reason to continue, although I had no hard evidence that there was any point to it at all.
I continued recording, although my voice was unreliable and I was managing only a few words at a time before I needed to take a breath, clear my throat or take a sip of water. A five to ten minute recording could take anything up to six hours to complete.
After six months of steady recording my voice is beginning to become more bearable and old recordings will be replaced, one by one, with new improved ones. Eventually, I hope to record the entire bible, having good breath support, a strong larynx and good, clear, (or at least tolerable) diction. My skills with audio software are almost nil.
Why do we do the things that we do?
Wisdom comes by the grace of God. The wisdom of God does not come from reading many impressive books and scriptures, which non-believers also do. Over the years I have met many folk, who live simple lives, read little and yet have an 'innate' wisdom. Even so, reading and study brings joy and support to many believers and non-believers who have the time, facilities and inclination to do so.
To know who Jesus is, truly believing Him to be the son of God is the way into eternal life.
I feel God's presence even more profoundly, when reading the Holy bible and as a result I feel greatly cared for and comforted. Whether it's genealogies, numbers, beautiful lessons and stories or hard truths the Holy Bible never fails to make me aware of God's presence and His love for me. My understanding of personal experiences deepen and insights become brighter. I have found that reading one, entire chapter of the Holy bible aloud daily and taking time over doing so, has been an incredibly strengthening experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Who knows why do we do the things that we do? God knows.