I cough a lot. Some of you are very aware of this and others may not quite appreciate what I mean when I say I cough a lot. When I say this, I mean I pretty much just cough insescently for about two months at a time. As a result, those who happen to be around me on a regular basis just learn to ignore it. Those who are not around me on a regular basis become extremely concerned and ask questions like, "Are you okay?" "Are you choking?" "Are you dying?" or my personal favorite, "What is your malfunction?" I also get offered a lot of cough drops. It's become a bad habit to collect them. See, the problem is not in my throat. It's a latened bronchial infection. That means that it's an issue in my lungs. It's not a tickle in my throat or a cold. There's nothing wrong that a cough drop will fix. However, when I begin coughing in the middle of a Sunday morning church service, and five minutes later, when I'm still coughing, someone is kind enough to get up and bring me a cough drop, I often do not take the time to explain the situation. I just accept the gift and smile gratefully amidst the hacking. I usually just write it off and try to avoid having one in my mouth when I have to sing. But in the last couple days I've been bombarded with medicinal offerings. In the last two concerts alone I was offered 18 cough drops, two jolly ranchers, a package of sweetharts to suck on, and an entire bag of lemon Ricola lozenges. Throw in the 6 cups of water that were offered, and that is definitely a record number for me. As I was sitting at the sound board counting all of that up last night, I found that I was a little overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude I felt towards those who had offered them all. Here we are playing concerts for strangers- people we had never seen until 5 minutes before the show started- and here they are offering me anything and everything they have in their purses/wallets/pockets/car/etc. for the sake of my lungs. I've seen more people go out of their way to make sure I'm comfortable than I could ever have hoped or imagined. It's tremendously humbling. It's embarrassing at times, and usually a little uncomfortable. I know I don't deserve any of it and I also know that I should be doing the same for the people around me. How many times are there people in need around me that I just don't notice? How often to I empty my pockets/backpack/etc. for the sake of those around me? I guess I'd just like to say thank you to those who have shown me that kind of love in the last few weeks. Thank you to those who just pat me on the back and smile as I cough on them. Thank you for the reminder of what it means to serve, and the example of what I should be doing in the lives of those around me.
And I really do just cough a lot. I'm okay. I promise. :)