From This Side of COVID

Well.

After two years, four months, and several odd days of fearing it, preparing for it, guarding against it, and wondering if I had it…finally, COVID found me.

And while I can confidently say that I am one of the lucky ones, in that it hasn’t sent me to the hospital, prevented me from caring for my dog, or really and truly debilitated me – I can also just as confidently say that it has been rough.

Getting COVID is a surprisingly emotional experience – at least I found it to be so. There are the ordinary emotions of feeling sick, weak, humbled and unable to carry on normally – the things we feel when we have a bad cold or a stomach flu – but with COVID these are also coupled with a good deal of lingering trauma from the last couple of years. Many people have gotten this and died – will I be one of them? It’s scary to get sick, but even more so without the protection of vaccines and boosters, or the promise of antiviral treatments – what must it have been like to have COVID under those conditions?

I texted with friends of mine the day I got that first positive test result, and we talked about the rollercoaster of COVID feelings. I cried a lot that day, from the overwhelm and uncertainty, the pent up anxieties of trying to avoid this exact scenario for so long, and the fear of what this diagnosis had meant for others and could mean for me.

But by that evening, I was crying for other reasons. (My friends and I have agreed: tears should be added to the list of likely symptoms by the CDC).

It was because I woke up to a phone call telling me that there were bags of groceries in my condo lobby, homemade soup and fresh bread, sports drinks and fruit.

There were friends who got my medicine from the pharmacy, friends who took my dog for a walk or an afternoon, friends who saw my name on the prayer list and emailed or texted: do you need anything? what can I do?

One sent a Door Dash gift card, so I could unapologetically order to my door whatever sounded good or necessary.

One showed up with both popsicles and Panera chicken soup when I said that either sounded amazing.

One asked if I needed trashy magazines (it made me laugh then, which I badly needed, and still makes me chuckle today).

And all of them, in their own way, reminded me: I don’t have to get through this on my own.

There will be help, and prayers, and check-ins, even after the initial days of isolation, while the fatigue lingers on and the cough won’t quit.

I cannot tell you precisely what that meant to me. What that means to me.

The truth is that I’m on day ten now, the last day that the CDC offers much guidance for what to do if you’re sick, the last day that you have much to grab onto in terms of: what do I do? What happens next?

And I still feel crummy. Not awful. But tired and congested and not my normal self.

This next phase, days 11 and onward, feels uncertain. How long until I get back to normal? When do I safely take a mask off with close friends? When am I no longer a risk to people I might visit?

These questions are swirling, and they can threaten to overwhelm me. But I keep coming back to you all, and your love, and care, and how God has shown up for me even in the midst of this.

And it’s enough, more than enough, to keep me going.

With a heart full of thanks,

Pastor Jen

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