The Covid 19 pandemic and related precautions have made me realize that the reason my faith excites me is because of opportunities to witness the redemptive power of Christ, or the ways in which God transforms negative events into blessings.
In order to slow the spread of Coronavirus in Canada, on Friday March 13th schools, churches and other public spaces in Ontario began to shut down. This is when the global crisis we are facing became real to me and panic set in on a personal level. I began to worry that Personal Care Attendants who I rely on for support several times a day would not be able to do their jobs, or would not want to, given that the hours are brief and many of them rely on public transit which poses various risks in this pandemic. There is also the possibility that I will be exposed to the virus by those who continue to support me regardless of my own efforts to self isolate. I also was concerned that I might get sick with Covid -19 and no one would be able to care for me without risking their own health and safety. If I were to get Covid-19 I would not be able to survive quarantine on my own.
Before these worries could take over my mind I began to sense the comfort of the Holy Spirit and recalled Matthew 6:34 NLT, don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
I invited my mom to stay with me throughout these uncertain times. This has reduced my risk of exposure to coronavirus by decreasing the number of health care visits I require daily from 4 to 2. As a result since March 14, with the exception of my mom and a reduced number of Personal Care Attendants I have been self isolating at home.
I am missing the privilege of connecting with coworkers in the office, worshiping in person with members of my church family and being out and about in the community. As a trained chaplain and social worker, it has been even more difficult to restrain my natural inclination to support others in times of need, as so many brave healthcare professionals, chaplains and social workers like myself are doing. However, there have been surprising opportunities to support one another at home which are perhaps less glamorous than the frontlines of a healthcare setting but potentially just as meaningful.
I have been very blessed to receive calls, text messages and emails from members of my church family, coworkers, and neighbors offering to run errands for me and drop off supplies as needed. I look forward to our post coronavirus pandemic world because in many ways our global community is learning what it means to love our neighbor and bear with one another. I also hope this experience will produce greater empathy for those who are housebound in everyday circumstances. Greater availability of videoconferencing platforms as a result of coronavirus safety precautions have also increased the options available to those who wish to connect with others through videoconferencing or other means if they are unable to leave their house or they cannot secure accessible transportation during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
I am grateful for a new awareness of one of my weaknesses, in addition to being a perfectionist, I am a ‘productivist;’ until recently, I believed that the value of a day well spent was dependent on how many things I could accomplish. A few short weeks ago, prior to the onset of coronavirus in Ontario a friend visited me in the home that I have been living in for the past two years. She asked me if I knew any of my neighbours yet. Half proud and half ashamed I replied, “not really because I am hardly ever home.” Now that I am always home except for a daily walk around the block. I am blessed by friendly waves from neighbours as well as opportunities to have conversations with them while maintaining physical distance.
God has reminded me that all of us are human beings not human doings. These past times spent with my mom that I have not really made time for in the past one and a half decades have great value. They have rearranged my priorities somewhat.
I have felt a little guilty because in some ways it seems like she and I are living the dream as we share meals and eat good food, play board games, enjoy TV shows and movies together. These are activities that I have always loved but unfortunately, in the last 1 ½ decades I have neglected these joys of life to focus more on my career, as well as being involved in the community.
I am grateful that the Covid-19 crisis has reawakened me to the blessing of quality time.