Saturday April 2, 2022
During this pandemic, we have been doing all we can to avoid getting covid and to avoid spreading covid. And this has involved many challenges not the least of which is that those who have the virus can present as asymptomatic. They may very well have no idea that they are sick. This is a cagey virus!
So we do all we can. Like many of you, I stayed home. Avoided unnecessary outings and contact with people. I kept my distance. I washed my hands and sanitized frequently. And I masked. Pretty much everywhere but home and now church during the week when few people are there. I am vaccinated and boosted and planning for the second booster but I am still taking most of these precautions daily.
We limited contact with our son, Malcolm, and his friends because they were less careful than we were. I would not let my spouse, Jeff, substitute teach because of the risk even though subs were desperately needed. I postponed an operation to stay out of a hospital that was filled with covid patients.
I did not see our older son for over a year because it just wasn’t’ safe. When I had to fly, I wore two masks and a face shield. I did not eat or drink anything in the airport or on the plane. I maintained physical distancing as much as possible in that situation.
We all know this story. We know what it is to try to avoid getting this virus. To do all we can to stay safe. To make so many accommodations and sacrifices because we want to stop the spread of covid. We have been dogged and relentless in our efforts not just for our own health but for the health of society as a whole, especially those most vulnerable. And to reduce the stress on the over burdened healthcare system.
Like many of you, I suspect, I did all that I could to avoid getting this virus. In January, I came down with a cold, low fever, runny nose, etc. I was laid low for a few days. Then I started to feel better. I was sure I would be up to being at church on Sunday morning. Then on Thursday, our music director, Hilton Jones, texted me and said he had a covid home test kit. Did I want him to bring it over? If it was him, he would want to be sure before he came to church on Sunday that he was negative. Of course, I completely agreed. I would never want to come to church with covid and risk infecting anyone in the congregation. It simply has never occurred to me that I could have covid. So Hilton brought the test over and left it outside on the porch of our house. On Saturday, I did the test to be safe not in the least suspecting that it might be positive. And then the two pink lines appeared on the test strip. I had covid. And Jeff, my spouse, did, too. And we ended up being under ‘house arrest’ for two weeks.
After all of my efforts to be safe, how did that happen? Well, we are fairly sure that we got it from our grandsons ages 1 and 2 1/2. We took care of them the weekend before we got sick. They had runny noses and were coughing, The usual kid stuff, we thought. And of course we did not mask or keep our distance. You can’t with children that age.
So here I was making all these efforts to prevent getting the dreaded covid and I got it. I was worried about getting it from a random stranger, in the grocery store, at the dentist, in a routine encounter with someone. I was busy trying not to get it (or give it!) at church. My concern was directed toward the ‘outside’ world. And I got it from my inner circle. That is supposed to be safe.
As we reflect this Lenten season, I think there is a message here. Sometimes we are worrying about avoiding the influence of those from the outside, of those perceived as bad. We are staying away from forces that appear to be harmful or dangerous. The evil, outside threat. Steer clear of bad influences. Yet the greatest temptation, that may entice us away from Divine Love and the way of Jesus may be much closer to home. In our family. Even in ourselves. The ‘devil ‘ may be much closer to home than we ever imagined. And, like Jesus in the wilderness, we may be enticed away from God by something that looks like good. Lent is a call to stay vigilant. Yes, keep wearing the mask. And also stay wary of the forces that may lead us away from the purposes of Love. They may be much closer than we think!
I’m over covid physically, but it is a much longer process to get over covid and the whole pandemic spiritually. It still has many things to teach.
We remember all those who have covid the world over, who have lost loved ones to covid. We remember the health care workers that are caring for those with covid. We remember all the sacrifices and losses not just of people but of events, celebrations, time together that we have endured. The virus is not done with us. And there is still much for us to learn including how to come together for the common good. Amen.