I’m fighting a wicked head cold.

Of course, by “fighting” I mean, mostly, “curling up on the couch and feeling sorry for myself.”

I am not a good patient.

Oh sure, I’m following all the rules: plenty of fluids, rest, Advil, hot tea with honey. I even broke out the Vick’s Vapo-Rub tonight. It stinks but it works.

I know it’s just a cold. I know it will go away, as my friend Patty says, “in 7 days to a week.” I know I just have to hang on until the rhinovirus moves on to another host or wears itself out or does whatever it is that rhinoviruses do.

(Calling it a rhinovirus somehow makes it sound fierce. As in, no wonder I didn’t get much done today except sleep and watch Law & Order—hello, I have a rhinovirus.)

Still, this minor cold is nothing compared to the hanging-in-there times that people suffer every day: cancer, accidents, grief, war. I wish these times weren’t a part of life.

And yet, in the midst of this minor cold, I’ve been reminded about two things: first, God is there, even when it feels like we’re just hanging on, and second, hanging on is easier when we lean on other people.

I woke up this morning and, through my congestion and whining, thought about my to-do list: “Let’s see: 1) try to stay alive. 2)… Nope, just one is enough for now.” I asked God for the grace to get through the day.

Then I called my sister, who convinced me it was OK to stay home from work. She fed me soup and made me take a nap. Ellie the dog sensed something was wrong; she curled up close to me on the bed and kept me warm. (It wasn’t completely selfless: I believe she also needed a nap.)

I know it’s just a minor cold that will go away soon, but I needed both God’s grace and the support of other people (and one furry dog) to hang in there today. I hope I can remember this in more difficult times. And I hope God will use me to help other people hang in there, too, when they need it.

And I hope the effects of this Vapo-Rub are worth the smell.