John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Our ongoing struggle against COVID-19, worsening even now, is a study in life, interrupted. First, this means lives and families interrupted as 130,000 have died in the USA. We have 4% of the world’s population and suffer 25% of the world’s mortality in this. And what about those who’ve died during the pandemic interim, not owing to COVID, friends and family going unmourned, as we couldn’t gather?
As one walking alongside the bereaved for four decades, I see how unprocessed grief from our losses is burning holes in our hearts and souls without our noticing.
What with now assembling to worship outside, Sundays at 9 am, COVID-19 has been a case of church, interrupted. It is a breath of fresh air to be able to gather again. This Sunday we look forward to baptizing Danielle Craig and her three children. But let’s not forget the likes of Confirmation Sunday, weddings, youth mission trip, and a new member class ready to unite with us, all of them on hold.
There are silver linings, however. When a vaccine does arrive and our lives grow routinized again, we can no longer strut the same way as masters of our destiny, with God as afterthought. This pandemic forces us to pull back to see a picture bigger than the meager scratchings that our lives make upon the earth’s surface. If COVID-19 hasn’t shaken us from illusions of self-sufficiency and self-adequacy as autonomous creatures then the thick callouses upon our souls are permanent.
Is anyone else shaken by our collective failure to form a unified consensus on strategies like wearing masks, avoiding crowds and physical distancing? COVID-19 now spreads in places where they imagined it was just a NY city kind of thing. It was different during WWII as effort channeled into wartime determination. Auto plants morphed into an arsenal for democracy. Hitler couldn’t match our bombers rolling hourly off assembly lines. People saved scraps of rubber, metal, and fuel.
Now the alarm bells ring as focus on individual rights loom selfishly out of whack over against our wider efforts to develop the greater good for our society at large. Our personal opinions about face masks just don’t matter; science overwhelms it.
I am not objective on this, married as I am to a health care giver. Over 1,000 of them have died serving on the front lines of treatment. The NY Times writes, “At this moment, health care workers are like an army in conflict, where everyone in uniform is a medic. In cites where COVID-19 has struck hardest, they’re battered, suffering from acute distress, exhaustion, trauma.” If that isn’t true now in New York and Boston, it is in Houston, Atlanta and Helena, we cannot afford to forget.
As we set records for new cases, now months into the pandemic, COVID-19 is life interrupted. Think of single people and dating. Think of surgeries postponed. Think of students hoping they will get to their new schools in a matter of weeks.