Infection

by Wendy Gustafson


Journal entry: sometime in the 1990s: Today is Monday. Today I have laryngitis. Last Monday my daughter had laryngitis. I caught it from her.


She didn't want to inflict anything on me. She didn't mean to spread discomfort or disease. But I caught it from her, just the same, because we live together. We are close. We share space and air. So today, I am doing my own interpretation of a clam.


It's not too bad, this quiet. It's good to be quiet for a few days. I can think things and not be tempted to say them out loud. I can talk to myself inside my head instead of out here where the kids take such behavior as evidence of dementia. When I do croak out a word or two, I choose them carefully because I have limited communication resources. No unnecessary noise.


It is a great opportunity to listen. I am enjoying the freedom from having to respond, from having to add my clamor to a clamorous world that rolls along, rolls along without regard for important things like heartspeak and feelingspeak. So much unnecessary noise.


Today I took my laryngitis to the doctor. I had taken my daughter last Monday. Now, here I was myself. I felt kind of embarrassed about that, like I should have been able to prevent the infection just because I knew of the contagion. But that's how it is when you catch something from someone close to you. It sneaks in and gets you, or, rather, you get it.


Christianity is something you catch like that. I caught it from my parents. We lived together. We were close. We shared space and air. I watched them live and love, solve problems, and interact with people. They breathed out their faith, mixed with everyday talk and duty. They didn't really mean to spread it around so unreservedly, but it infected and affected every part of their lives. They just couldn't help it.


And I caught it. It started growing in me. I carried the contagion away with me when I left home, and let it loose in my circles of friends. I don't know how many people I have infected with Jesus Germs. I hope lots.


Christianity is something you catch from someone else. Jesus spread it like wildfire--a new way to be, a new friend of God. It was caught and carried all over the world. And the infection grew.


You spread it, too, by living with people, sharing space and air, lives and ideas. You spread it by being available to others, open, truthful. It may cause a discomfort or dis-ease in them that you never meant to cause. The invasion of the soul by the Holy Spirit is sometimes a wrenching prospect, or a roaring fever. But once infected, the outcome is always health and wholeness.


So spread it around! Give thanks to God for all the occasions you have to infect someone with the germ of truth. Breathe it out. Live it out, so that people who come close to you can come closer to God because of that contact. Your touch, your truth, your way of life to watch is someone else’s Bible. Let others read the Word of God in your life. And catch what Jesus carries—heaven here.

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