The sun seems to have returned to our area. I now have to close my curtains for Zoom meetings because of the glare, and my raised beds outside are starting to warm. I also have an unknown perennial coming up—unexpected—the joys of moving into a new home. Finally, I feel that Spring is here. Welcome, May!
If you are like me, you are tired of being inside. Tired of “staying at home,” and wishing for the freedom to walk in your local grocery store without keeping 6 feet apart, wearing gloves and breathing through a mask. You are tired of wiping down groceries and mail. Even those of us who like our homes, like some quiet time—and that’s me, I admit—I am ready to have some freedom again to at least browse a bookshelf at the library.
But, let me be clear. Just because I am tired of it all does not mean I have lost my good sense.
I see the value and reason for “Staying at home.” I wear the gloves, breathe through my homemade mask, and stay inside, or at least within the boundaries of my little Milwaukee bungalow yard. I was truly angry this past warm Saturday to see clumps of bicyclists of all ages clustered tightly together at street corners in Tosa, with no masks, waiting for the green light. I was frustrated to order food and have it delivered by someone with no mask or gloves. And don’t get me started on the news. I cannot pastorally even talk about it.
I was asked this week by a friend, if I am so tired of it all, why I still leaned toward a stricter view of opening up the state and country.
I would like to share what I told him.
I personally am not afraid of the virus itself. I am pretty healthy; I have no outstanding high-risk features. I am blessed that way, to be sure. Perhaps I am naïve. But if I do get the virus, I will likely be ill but I won’t require hospitalization.
But that is not my fear. My fear is for others. Loved ones that DO have high-risk factors in their health. Loved ones who may require hospitalization if the virus were to take hold of them, and weaken their bodies. That’s my fear. That someone I love has to go to the hospital.
Because, my friends, that is the scary part we do not think about. Going to the hospital NOW means driving up to a triage station, and having your loved one go inside and receive care, and you are NOT allowed inside to be with him/her.
This fear hit home with an email from a friend who shared dropping off a loved one at a hospital for a non-COVID reason, and NOT being allowed to be with that person for the 2-3 days of procedures and tests. Can you imagine? I cannot.
My husband has had his share of hospitals since a cancer diagnosis in 2013. I go with him to every visit, and certainly every hospital procedure, surgery, and test. Pete’s list of meds is long. His health history takes us both to recall. I have lists and notes on my phone that I text to the nurses and doctors while they meet us. His health is not easy to manage. We both know this. It takes 2 to make sure we get it all straight.
I cannot imagine having Pete become ill, for whatever reason, and needing hospital care. I cannot imagine letting him go into a situation without me to remind him the dates of his last procedures. Or hearing the doctor’s words and letting Pete know what I heard, compared to what he heard, so that together we can make a choice that has been well thought out.
I am also having a hard time not being able to “pastor.” Not being able to hold a hand while praying with someone. Not visiting a medical facility since March 13. Knowing that a member of Bay Shore, or a family member, or a dear friend may end up some place that I cannot go inside and be with him/her/they when needed.
Are you with me? Do you understand?
Because I do not want this fear to become a reality for anyone. To be separated from a loved one at a time when he/she/they needs us the most.
God bless the medical professionals. God keep them healthy. In support of them and their sacrifices, let’s wear masks and gloves and practice safety measures to keep the spread lower so that we do not continue to overwhelm our hospitals and medical facilities. Let’s get some things under control so that a simple surgery or procedure at the hospital isn’t challenging.
I may be tired; I may be frustrated. I may get antsy, cranky and wish for the ability to have a really good beer and cheese curds from my local pub while watching hockey. But in the end, I will not let my selfish desires and frustrations over-rule common sense and the good for all. And I pray that the next time someone I love is admitted to a hospital, I am able to go and be the support he/she needs.
In the Judaic tradition, preservation of life is more important than the keeping of the Law. Those who keep strict adherence today to the Law, say not using cars on Shabbat, will not hesitate to call an ambulance for a loved one who needs it. We love our neighbor in many, many ways–some sacrifices now will preserve life for the future. I find staying at home to be a spiritual choice–not a governmental dictate.
Honestly—wearing a mask—it’s the very least I can do. And so, I do. Every time. I hope you do too so that we can get to a point when we no longer have such fears, and we can at least see one another in person. We may be wearing masks and gloves when we do so. Again, I am ok with that. If it keeps you and me and our loved ones on this earth longer… so be it.
My prayers are with you always. I pray for you and your own health, and I pray for those you love—that they too stay healthy and well. Be safe, stay healthy, persevere and be strong. We will get through this together.
May God’s Spirit surround us and give us strength when we grow weary of doing what is right.