Welcome (back) to COVIDland – A Chaplain’s Perspective
(with apologies to Anson Seabra)
Welcome to COVIDland, we’ve seen it all…
We are not heroes, we’re answering our Call
Knowing you’re scared as we give you the space to just talk. (or is that… cough?)
Welcome to COVIDland, it lingers on
Testing twice weekly and PPE donned
Wondering, wandering, listening, holding your hand…
As we round the corner to start Year 3 of a global pandemic, I stopped to self-assess. Anxious? A little. Despite being fully vaccinated and boosted, I’ve had a milder form of COVID and it was no picnic. Annoyed? A little. Too many people have died, and way too many have denied common-sense public health practices. Tired? Yeah. It weighs on me.
The instructions for keeping ourselves safe swirl in a jumble of directives. Over the last 2 years, they have been updated to the point that it feels… pointless. BUT – to be clear, we were hearing the best that research and science could tell us in the midst of an explosive global pandemic. It was — and is — a fluid situation.
- Here. Wear this mask. NO… not that kind, this kind. And wear a face shield.
- Get tested so that you can work. WELL… you test twice a week. Your family will have to go to a testing center.
- Quarantine for 10 days if you test positive. WELL… 5 days but wear a mask.
- Do a COVID test. Send in a spit sample. No, an oropharyngeal swab. Actually, anterior nares will do.
I half expect a white rabbit with a pocket watch to pop out of my COVID test kit and say, Here. Drink this. (And I probably would!)
It is surreal.
Chaplains are in the soup, COVID soup, a lot. My friends in the hospital are watching as people die, 2 or 3 a shift. Our hospice pulled chaplains and social workers out of the field for a few weeks because the contagion rate was so high that we were at risk for transmitting it to our patients! And many, like me, got a positive test result right before the symptoms showed up. We are back in the field, wearing PPE and doing our best to stay healthy. For healthcare workers, it’s been a long drudge.
But it’s not just in healthcare.
I think of teachers with the acrobatics they pull off with in-person/virtual/hybrid teaching. Retail clerks and business owners with staff out on sick leave. Our dependence on online purchases so that we aren’t as exposed. Finding things we don’t need (Valentine candy?) but not the things we do (produce) in grocery stores. People at risk with their health status being minimized by politicians as “pre-existing conditions.” People who are under-insured because equal access to health care is not a reality. (Congress. I’m looking at you. Fix this. We would all love your health insurance…)
So, friends, if you are feeling as though life is beyond weird, and you’re running on an empty tank, you aren’t alone.
Take time to rest, create, laugh, and find something fun to do. (Remember fun?) And don’t forget to listen for a song that fills up your heart. Here’s one that has been a life-giver to me recently. I’ll keep #tryingmybest. How about you?