I’m not a doctor. I barely understand chemistry.* I don’t like blood, and I have never ever wanted to be a nurse. Calculating things in the metric system makes me crazy. I am an inch/foot/yard/mile and a cup/quart/gallon ‘Merican. I keep myself relatively healthy for a non-athlete. I don’t pretend to understand RNA, DNA, and viruses. I’m a pastor, a chaplain, and a wife/mom/aunt/friend first. I don’t know everything.
One thing I do know… COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is a killer. And far too many people are dying from this virus.
The work weeks feel unusually long, for some reason. It may be because there’s so many needs to be met, and that work is never done. It may be because of the pandemic and feeling like we will forever be swimming upstream and holding our breath. It may also be that I am grieving all the “things” that are really not that important, but I miss them anyway. (More on that in a minute.)
But when I looked at a particular situation recently, (one that I can’t describe specifically because of HIPAA and I want to keep my job thankyouverymuch), I got angry. The people who were most affected by the situation were People of Color. Their lives, their families, their livelihood were all threatened.
I stand on the other side of a bubble, inside my PPE of gown, gloves, masks, booties, face shield… knowing that I am safer, but not safe. None of us are. And none of us will be for some time.
We are missing graduations. Weddings. Funerals. New babies. Parties. Time with family. Birthdays. Casual dinners out. Talking over coffee. Shopping. Worship services. Singing. Hugs. Sports events. Good-byes. All the good-byes…
We are missing once-in-a-lifetime events. And we are missing the impact of this pandemic.
COVID-19 is a pervasive, aggressive virus. Doctors still don’t understand it completely. Nurses, respiratory therapists, and a myriad of hospital staff are working in ICUs trying to beat death. They are hammering away at it, night and day, and treating the impact on the human body, but they can’t stop its insistent incursion on human hosts. It’s like sending firefighters to a house fire, and not turning off the gas that is fueling it…
There isn’t an ‘off switch’ with this virus. It won’t go away with the promise of a vaccine. It’s isn’t killed by sunshine, never to return. It won’t go away with the strictest of stay-at-home guidelines. It won’t hit “herd immunity” for months. Maybe years.
We want things to go back to “normal.” There is no normal. There isn’t a “new normal” either.
Does that seem overly negative? Sorry, friends. As I listen to people who study disease and disease processes for a living, their consistent take on our situation is one of caution, patience and diligence.
I look to the wise for answers. I listen carefully for a hidden bias or “sell job.” I don’t trust that Big Pharma and the military are uninterested observers. They have their turf to protect. Yes, they have information. But it is not always presented in a factual manner.
I lean heavily on God’s love and grace to guide me. Love that will not let me go. Grace that is enough for today. And a listening heart to respond to the guidance the Divine brings.
I pray for our world’s leaders. If ever there were a time for humility, and a requirement to lean on people who are experts in medicine, and are NOT politicians, this is it. Pretending to be wise on every subject area, especially in the unknowable, is the hallmark of a fool. When I stand face to face with the Divine, I hope I will say…“I listened.”
From out of a storm, the Lord said to Job:
Why do you talk so much when you know so little?
Now get ready to face me! Can you answer the questions I ask?
How did I lay the foundation for the earth? Were you there?
Doubtless you know who decided its length and width.
What supports the foundation? Who placed the cornerstone, while morning stars sang, and angels rejoiced?
When the ocean was born, I set its boundaries and wrapped it in blankets of thickest fog.
Then I built a wall around it, locked the gates, and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here! They can go no farther.”
Did you ever tell the sun to rise? And did it obey?
Did it take hold of the earth and shake out the wicked like dust from a rug?
Early dawn outlines the hills like stitches on clothing or sketches on clay.
But its light is too much for those who are evil, and their power is broken.
Job 38-1-15 CEV
May the power of the evil indeed be broken by the strength and persistent presence of the Light.
*I know enough not to disinfect my insides with bleach… but I digress.