No one in Zion will say, “I’m sick.” Best of all, they’ll all live guilt-free. Isaiah 33:24 (The Message)
Working for a government agency means I don’t get a whole lot of money in my pocket, but I have a great benefit package. In addition to health and life insurance, I get twenty three vacation days, thirteen sick days, and thirteen holidays each year. I also get my birthday, the anniversary of the day I began work and two “personal” days to do with as I will. If you add up all my time off, it comes to fifty three, more than one for each week of the year. That’s not even counting the comp time I have accrued. Technically, I could work a four day week all year long and get paid for five. While it is tempting, other than doctor’s appointments and some family vacation time, I don’t miss that much work. If we cannot use it all up in one year, we can save it for later. In fact, over time, I have built about six weeks of vacation and six months of sick leave. Someday, it may come in handy. If not, I can cash it in when I retire. Though, I like the idea of being able to bank the time that is not the reason that I don’t use it all up when I get it. I don’t take the time off, because I feel guilty about missing work. With seven different departments to supervise and nineteen staff, something or someone is always in turmoil. Today, I didn’t feel very good, but still, I got up and went in to my office. Though I felt nauseous, light headed, chilled and a tad bit achy, I had several meetings this morning that I could not miss. I don’t think it was the flu as I had a flu shot a month ago. Well, I guess it could have been a mild version. At any rate, by Noon, I had to throw in the towel and call it a day. Our time cards have all these different codes on them. Now, I have to figure out if I call today’s time off “Sick on a Monday” or “Sick the day before a Holiday” as tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. Today, I felt so icky that I did something I don’t normally do; I turned off my blackberry and didn’t monitor my e-mails. They were all on their own while I huddled in my pajamas and tried to rest. I still felt guilty about being home though. It made me think of these verses. They talk of how God is our rescuer and deliverer. Even in times of trouble, He is there taking care of us. The real meaning of guilt free here is forgiven. The chapter tells of a time when there will be no more sickness, death, disease or sin. Someday, Heaven will be like that. But, in the meantime, I like to think that God is giving me permission to stay home and without guilt take care of myself every once in a while.