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Pink Eye

So two days after I returned from Harry Potter World, I woke up to my eyes glued shut! I think I remember something like this happening once to Ron Weasley. Or was it Neville Longbottom? I thought about taking a Sharpee and writing on a t-shirt: “I took my daughter to Harry Potter World and All I Got Was Pink Eye.”

The worst part of it was that I was supposed to go to a National Fellows Conference that afternoon in Washington D.C. I made some calls and the doctors I talked to said I’d probably be fine by that evening. One called me in some eyedrops. I proceeded up to D.C.

My eyes were not better by that evening. There was yellow goop getting in the way of my eyeballs which made driving through D.C. traffic super fun! To make it worse – Prince died. Which was totally sad, but when you are in a car for six hours, there is only so many times you can hear Purple Rain before you go nuts.

I spent the night with my friend Nathan, who lives on Columbia Avenue right downtown. There is an awesome roof on his apartment building, the kind that allows you to see the whole city. We grabbed a few drinks and headed up the elevator. It was one of those misty nights, or maybe it wasn’t – it likely could have been my eyes. Everything was blurry.

In a few minutes, we were joined by several others who had decided the roof was the only appropriate place to mourn the death of Prince. One woman in particular, a French woman, just a few years younger than Prince, was falling to pieces. I consoled her the best I could. She played for me her favorite Prince song(s). I told her that Prince left the world a gift by recording songs that we can listen to for the rest of our lives.

My friend and I finished our drinks as we sat and talked beneath the misty full moon above our Nation’s Capital. A night I will not soon forget.

My eyes were worse the next morning. It wasn’t going to be fun, but I knew that I had to go home. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror (literally, I couldn’t) knowing that I could potentially infect the entire Fellows Nation with Pink Eye.

It was a long drive.

And the eye business didn’t resolve itself for several more days – including an uncomfortable morning at church where I led worship and the prayers of the people.

It made me feel for those of us in this world with visible maladies. That was a hard part – the being looked at. Then there was the lack of physical touch – that was even harder. I didn’t touch a human for nearly a week. It was awful.

It has grown my compassion…

For those of us in this world that need a loving touch.

I think of Jesus reaching out his hand and touching the leper.

I am thinking about how we are called to be the hands of Jesus.

Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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