bright side of a fever

I think I’ll call it the “immersion effect.” Happens when a person with chills, fever, congestion and sore muscles tries to read a book on their Kindle while lying prone on a couch dressed in sweats and covered with a blanket. This happened to me a few days ago. I think it was Wednesday, but am only recently back to a fully alert state, so frankly, I’m not sure what day it was.

My head felt like it was several sizes too large for my neck, full of a viscous substance that sloshed and threw me off-balance when I tried to walk. I had downloaded Eric Weiner’s new book, Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine. This temporary and mercifully brief  illness was the perfect foil for an interactive experience with this book. Read a page or two, drop the Kindle on my belly when I fall into a deep sleep; dream about what I read as though I were going through the experiences with the author, then stir, read a few more pages with burning eyes, drop the Kindle and repeat. I read the whole book this way over several days.

Weiner’s own quest began after a brief hospitalization where, at one point, a nurse asked him, “Have you found your God yet?”  That question was the seed from which his book sprouted. Self-described as a “gastronomical Jew,” Weiner explores microscopic slivers of versions of 8 religions, including Sufism, the Catholic Franciscans, Kabbalah, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, Wicca and Raëlism. A chapter was just about my limit before my stylus-wielding finger slid off the screen and “plop,” I was off again into an immersion experience blending sleep with what I just read.

I’m not quite ready for prime time yet, but the fever is gone and I’m stumbling around in more or less a straight line. But the reaction to Weiner’s book has stayed with me: it’s a  whole-wheat cake with some frosting; not ooey-gooey, but with a few too many fruit and nut clusters. I woke up after the last chapter wanting to run, not walk, down to the old church, Christ Episcopal, and soak up the dark wood, stained glass, sky-painted dome, earnest parishioners and a rector who is a very complicated simple man — the best shepherd for his flock I’ve yet seen — and know perhaps for the first time, that I have found my home.

6 thoughts on “bright side of a fever

  1. Ouch! And what a perfect expression: immersion effect. Years ago I came down with bronchitis in February during a snow storm and I lay in bed for days reading the just-released Beloved by Toni Morrison. I still can’t even see that book my shelf without also seeing snow and feeling afloat in a dark and lonely world.

    Glad you’re feeling well enough to post, dear Beth. I love reading you.


  2. Wow, great fever-dream story, Beth. I love a good church, which is to me a voluntary community of people trying to be good. That’s my God, more or less. Have just added the Weiner book to my Amazon que, too.


    1. Thanks, Richard! Buck says we have to support the church in part because it keeps lots of neurotics on a reasonably even keel. (Did I just see a lightning flash outside my study window?)


    1. Ah, Charlotte — it’s great to hear from you. Time and the river this year caused us to ride our little rafts down separate branches of the same river. Glad to have rediscovered you.


Thanks for stopping by. What are you writing about today?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.