My heart sank. Subject line: “Potential COVID exposure on the staff.” I immediately felt my anxiety rise and the fear creep in. I also felt a wave of depression as I soon realized that we would all need to quarantine until we received test results back for this particular staff person, which meant, for me, missing out on much-needed time with my family scheduled for two days following this news. My aging father, a Vietnam veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange during his time of service, suffers from multiple health issues, so we all have a heightened sense of following all the recommended guidelines. Until that email came, I was doing well. After that email, I had a deeper understanding of just how quickly COVID-19 can change and disrupt the most simple things, like being with family.
In my moments of feeling “blah” and worried all at the same time, I found myself watching and re-watching Leslie Jordan on Instagram (go follow him for a good laugh if you aren’t already!), binge-watching the show “Lost” on Hulu, and making more calls and sending more messages as a way to connect with people.
The reality is, nothing is normal about what we are all going through, and I’m not even sure what the new normal will look like. On one of those recent episodes of “Lost,” there was a a scene with a moth in a cocoon about to break free. The character in the scene could have easily used his hunting knife to help free it as it was struggling and wrestling to get out, but he explains that if anyone helps the moth by cutting open that cocoon, then it wouldn’t be strong enough to survive in the world. COVID-19 feels a little bit like a cocoon for us – holding us hostage in our homes, behind our masks, on the other side of that invisible wall that we have to physically place between us, and as we try to do all the things we really want to do.
We are all wrestling trying to escape it as fast as we can, often praying that the cocoon would just burst open already so we can be free to fly! Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us when we have those moments when our anxiety rises, fear creeps in, depression invades our souls and minds – appreciate the wrestling, knowing that even in the hard things, we are becoming stronger. Our communities are becoming more intentional, our motives more pure, our desires and actions more selfless, and treating all of those around us as family as we care for one another’s souls. I am not alone. You are not alone. We wrestle and cope with COVID-19 together. Through it all, we know that God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.
Amy McClure is the Associate Pastor for Children, Senior Adults, and Pastoral Care at First Baptist on Fifth, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.