This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, March 6, 2020
This week I’ve been debating whether I want to stray into musings on COVID-19 and its movement across the world. Of course it’s part of daily conversation, in plenty of circles, at home and church, and it’s impossible to turn on the news without updates on the viral spread. Still, there is part of me that hasn’t wanted to address it here, mostly in not wanting to contribute to panic and fear… as if my silence would ease it all away. My reluctance has not gone away, but this past week’s unfolding, in terms of where I spent more time, has prompted some longer thinking on the many things that cause us to keep distance from one another.
The short back-story is that, for the better part of two days, I found myself at the home desk, in relative isolation. One day was planned months ago, as our eldest said farewell to all four of his wisdom teeth – which left the balance of the day to rotate ice packs and supply room-temperature liquids and soft foods galore. His recovery has been smooth (no pun intended, and with thanks for all your concern); so much so that the next day at home came unbidden, for my own care. Reluctantly, I gave in to the cold that had been chasing me for days – or more accurately, kept me awake too long in coughing spells. No sympathy required for any of the above. On the grander scheme, these are barely blips of discomfort. Also, to be blunt, for an introvert like me, time away from the crowds is usually a precious gift… but it feels quite different when it’s not of my choosing.
I am not attempting to draw any sort of parallel between a couple of days and the massive quarantines and sometimes tragic outcomes for those impacted by the Novel Coronavirus. I understand the need for precautions, preclusions, and procedures to limit impacts and illness. I don’t envy any of the people making hard decisions about how to proceed in the midst of it all.
That said, there are two primary questions that keep swirling in my head: how can we instill the importance of wise health and hygiene long after this current virus subsides, to protect the most vulnerable when there are no headlines to move us to action? Second, and perhaps just as importantly, how can we move through this current outbreak in ways that are as compassionate as they are self-protective? How do we ensure that the isolating practices to protect do not breed fear of the people beside us? How do we hold each other in love, when we’re working hard to keep distance from potential illness? How do we hold this in perspective with the myriad diseases and suffering that do not garner global attention and response?
I guess that’s more than two questions. I know I have plenty more beyond that. I also know and trust that, as always and ever, God is giving us each other for the long haul. In joy and in suffering, we are on this journey together. We are walking in the Way of Jesus, who calls us to see his face in the face of every one we meet, even as they would his face in ours. Thank God for such trust, and such tender Love.
With love to you all,
“We get so wrapped up in numbers in our society, and the most important thing is that we’re able to be one to one, you and I, with each other at the moment.” (Fred Rogers, PBS, 1994)