A few weeks ago, my 7 year old got sick. If you read my heart wrenching Ray Charles food poisoning tale, then you know what a big deal that is. She hates to throw up like I hate LeBron James trying to make me feel bad for thinking he could have done a better job leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But this time, she was actually pretty good. There were no tears or shouting. She got sick and then laid down on a princess blow up bed that has already been worth its weight in gold. My wife and I complimented her on such a great turnaround from the usual reaction to illness. Later that day though, I pulled my four year old aside and let her know, “You’re really great at throwing up too.” (Lot of parenting books don’t tell you to do that, but then a lot of parenting books don’t tell you that one of the hardest parts of being a parent is having the patience to wait until your kids are asleep to pop their old half deflated helium balloons.)
When I told McRae she was good at throwing up, she looked me dead in the eye and immediately replied:
“I’m the champion of puking.”
Then she walked away. Like a wide receiver tossing the ball casually to the referee after scoring a touchdown, she didn’t do a celebration dance. She acted like she’d been there before. This wasn’t her first vomit rodeo. (Which would make a great punk band name by the way. You can have that one for free.)
Regardless of if you have kids or not, you have to know that right now, we’re all on the precipice of get sick season. Our friends in Australia are probably just coming out of theirs, but here in the states, we’re entering cold days and flu season. And standing on the edge of that, I have but one thing to say:
Please don’t be the person who starts a coughing chain reaction in church.
I’ve been this person. You get a tickle that grows into a tiny cough that grows into a whoop. A literal whoop! And then everyone around you starts coughing too. It’s infectious, like seeing someone yawn. And I don’t want any of us to be this person. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. You will not be able to will yourself into not coughing.
I think my body giggles when I try to mentally control my coughing fit. I feel like my mind is the corporate Gabe character in the TV show the Office. He’s yelling at all the employees and saying, “Come on guys, seriously, stop coughing.” But my body just laughs and keeps coughing regardless of what my mind says. You can’t “outthink” a cough.
2. You are not in a cone of silence.
Sometimes coughing people refuse to leave the service because they think they are in a cone of silence and no one else can hear them. They think they have done such a great job suppressing the sound that not even the person next to them is aware of what they are doing. Let me clear up that misunderstanding. We’re aware. They simply don’t possess the same circumaural design. If anything, your mouth is the perfect acoustic chamber, designed to amplify and strengthen any sound you make. Like coughing in church.
3. Menthol is not up to the task.
You’ve got a full body, 140 pounds of force cough going. You’re shaking and destroying Kleenex like owning a Pappion destroys man cards. So you go to your pocket and pull out a menthol cough drop weighing approximately .10 ounces. Yeah, that ought to do the trick. Problem averted. But not really. Put your faith in Jesus and pray that cough will stop. Don’t think for a second a single menthol will handle it. (Unless it’s a fisherman’s friend cough drop. Those things are the color of old garbage but they bring the thunder.)
If you’ve had part of your lung removed or are seriously under the weather, please don’t write angry comments. Even though people who have had partial lung removal surgery constitute a small portion of the Stuff Christians Like audience, I want to take care of them too. But if you’ve got a tickle, a tiny cough you plan to chain reaction to the entire congregation, please, go get a drink of water.
Has this ever happened to you?