Just a warning…
This blog post may be tough for those with a squeamish stomach, but trust me… It has a method to the madness and a point in the end!
For those of you who have followed my blog for any period of time, you know that this past year has been a year of medical mayhem for the Scheibner clan. We’ve battled through cancer and it’s subsequent surgery, spinal meningitis, a high-risk pregnancy and premature birth, a rare virus that attacked nerves, torn ligaments, and most recently, a dislocated knee.
It’s been quite a wild ride!
Overall, we’ve handled it well. By the mercy of God, we’ve maintained both our sanity and our sense of humor. But then, this week happened…
This week, we encountered the most violent, vitriolic, and vomit-inducing stomach bug I have ever faced. And trust me, with eight kids I’ve seen more than my fair share of stomach bugs!
It began with my one-year old granddaughter, Kaleigh. She passed it on to her expectant mommy, Rochelle. Rochelle generously shared it with my son, Peter. At one point, he was so ill that he called his sister, Emma, to say goodbye, since he wasn’t sure he’d live to see another day.
Fortunately for us, (I thought) Kaleigh, Rochelle, and Peter live in their own home. We’d seen them, but only for a few hours. After a day with no symptoms, I felt confident enough to host a sleepover for my two sons and their friends.
I shouldn’t have been so confident…
For us, the morning after the sleepover began the sickness saga in our home. I don’t know if Peter passed the germs over the phone, or what, but Emma woke up at 5 am and tried to rush to the bathroom. Unfortunately, she has a dislocated knee and a full leg brace. Let’s just say it wasn’t a successful run…
She passed the bug to her seven-month old son, Oliver. He was SO pitiful, and of course, Emma couldn’t take care of him, so we all jumped in to clean him up… Over, and over, and over again.
Baleigh, who’d been out of town for the weekend came home to puke-soaked laundry, a variety of vomit buckets, and the smell of disinfectant. We hoped the worst was passed and she wouldn’t be infected.
Two days later we realized our hopes were in vain. I was awakened at 4 am by a frantic “Help Me!” text from Baleigh. After cleaning her up, providing a bucket, and helping her crawl back into bed, I thought the day could only go uphill from there.
I was wrong…
Taylor and Stephen had remained symptom free, so at 7 am I left the house with the two boys and baby Oliver. We dropped Stephen at school and headed to the orthodontist to get Taylor’s new braces put on.
At 8:45 I received Stephen’s first text:
“Mom, I don’t feel well.”
I replied that if it continued I could come get him after Taylor was done his appointment.
“Mom, I just threw up twice.”
I replied that I’d be there soon.
“Mom! Please come get me, I can’t stop throwing up!”
I left Taylor with the very understanding dental assistants, grabbed the baby, and rushed to the school.
Rushed is somewhat of an understatement.
You know how it is when one of your children is panicking and in distress. When I say, “rushed,” what I actually mean is “speeded.” Yep, let’s just say that if the kind officer hadn’t been called off to an emergency, I might have ended up in handcuffs… (Blush!)
When I arrived at the school, Stephen wasn’t visible through the office windows. I opened the office door and found him curled up in the fetal position in the corner of the office. He felt awful, and by then, he’d thrown up six times.
I assumed he couldn’t have anything left in his system…
I was wrong!
At 9:34, I heard the dreaded sound; that sound that every mother knows and hates! Before I could pull off the road… Yep, you guessed it… Stephen plastered the entire backseat of my Brand New mini van with an unbelievable amount of vomit. My Brand New mini van… the one with that New Car smell! To be fair, he tried to throw up in the appropriate container, but there was Just.So.Much.Puke!
I’m trying not to be bitter, but to be honest… I really liked that new car smell… while it lasted…
That’s what went on in my family, all started by a sweet little baby, but it’s what happened because of my family that is really what I want to share.
You see, we’re a generous bunch, we Scheibners. Shortly into the onset of our stomach bug foray, we began to hear the rumblings of a tsunami. A tummy tsunami that we caused!
You see, Peter was scheduled to speak at his Alma Mater the day after his illness. Since he “felt” better he went and shared his expertise. Actually, he shared a lot more than his knowledge… he shared his germs. Soon after his return to North Carolina we heard that the folks he stayed with had fallen ill.
Victims one and two…
Remember that sleepover? Well, not everyone got sick, but my sixteen-year olds friend got it, and then, he gave it to his mother.
Victims three and four…
Baleigh’s best friend, Nic, offered to bring her popsicles to help her recover. We warned him not to come, we cautioned of the danger, but he wanted to come anyway.
He never made it… Shortly after he didn’t show up she received a text telling her that he was dying on the bathroom floor and didn’t think he’d ever get up again.
Victim number five…
He quickly shared it with his apartment mate… Victim number six.
Two days after the last sick Scheibner was recovered, an old friend of Emma’s came to visit. He had so much fun that he decided to spend the night.
That was a bad decision.
He posted this on Facebook, today.
Victim number seven.
From South Carolina, to North Carolina, to Virginia, and who knows where else now, we, Scheibners, have been reeking stomach flu havoc!
In the midst of the “death toll,” one of my own sickies pitifully lifted his head and said, “If we were assassins, we’d be good ones…”
Which got me to thinking. (You know how I am)
We sure did a good job sharing that stomach bug. In fact, we had an almost 100% effective rating when it came to targeting others. We took aim and found our mark with pristine accuracy.
How come we’re not that good when it comes to sharing Christ?
Stay with me now…
There were some actions we took that made our stomach bug campaign so effective, and honestly, they’d be just as effective in targeting others with the truth of the gospel.
First, we opened our home and shared life with other people. That one simple act was the first step in “infecting” them with what we had. An open home is just as “infectious” when it comes to sharing Jesus.
Are we infectiously opening our homes?
When the babies were sick, they didn’t try to hide it. They were perfectly transparent about how they felt and the fact that they weren’t well. Perhaps if we were willing to be transparent about our failures, our faults, our pains, and our illnesses, we’d be more approachable. If the unsaved world saw the “real” of my life, they might think that God could help them, too. When I put on the “all is well” façade I lose the opportunity to show my neediness and God’s greatness.
Are we transparently showing our own need for the Great Physician?
For some who shared the bug with us, it was because a Scheibner sat closely, listened deeply, and invested completely in building a relationship with them. (Maybe sat too closely… you know who you are!!) Emotional understanding and relational intimacy caused viral infection. In the same way, a total commitment to emotional understanding and relational intimacy will enable us to pass our “Jesus” infection on to others with clarity, conviction, and compassion.
Are we investing completely and intimately in the relationships with which we’ve been entrusted?
We unwittingly shared that flu bug with too many folks we love. I don’t really ever want to do that again… Instead, may we intentionally target and share our infectious faith with the folks God loves.
Now that’s an Assassins Creed I can embrace!