This week I cannot write about the perils of Christian nationalism, or sickening riots in the U.S. Capitol, or thousands of peaceful demonstrators who were nowhere near the Capitol, or Joe Biden’s weaknesses, or Donald Trump’s next move. According to social media, everyone already knows everything anyway, so I have no heart to stir those pots. Maybe another time. I am tending the sick tonight.
I might have spoken too soon last week when I mentioned that my husband had tested negative after being around a COVID-19-positive person several days. After being exposed to the virus, a person may take up to 14 days to develop the disease, and on the 12th day after his known exposure and a few days after some possible risk at work, my beloved has now an active case of the virus and a positive test to prove it.
As soon as I heard the words “sore throat,” I told him to go get tested, like “Do Not Pass Go,” go directly to a testing site. He complied, and youngest son who works for a hospital and has had the vaccine series started formulating the isolation plan until we could get the test results. We do what we must do these days.
Half the house is sectioned off with painters’ drop cloth plastic in the hallway. The Quarantiner has all the comforts of a TV for sports, internet and his computer, our bedroom and bath, and he gets meals under the plastic curtain on request. He can exit to the outside via the basement, so he is not a prisoner. So far, he has only mild symptoms, for which we are thankful, but I am not making any declarations like last week. As mama always said, “We’ll see ...” And I pray.
My friends and family have told me to be very careful to avoid getting sick. Having been a germaphobe for all my adult life, no one needs to prod me into pathogen respect. I told the Quarantiner right off the bat that I loved him with all my heart, but that in matters of infection, I will prove standoffish, even distant, like he is radioactive now. True to his nature, he is being a good sport because he really does not want me to get sick.
We both know that life is precious, and that this sickness is not something to take lightly even though we will try to make the best of it. Right here in our own community two people have died of it, so we know not to be presumptuous about our outcomes, considering our gray hairs. Faced with a diagnosis that other people have died of makes a person reflect on things.
I marvel that in our country when so many people are suffering that we are intent on gnashing our teeth and letting ugliness into conversations. The fear of God restrains me from going there: This virus does not care what political party you espouse, your income level, your gender, your age (although it does seem to prefer older folks — still, the young can be affected too), or your religious affiliation.
I pondered, too, that if God chooses this time for my exit, what would be the things people would remember? My sharp-tongued touché in a Facebook thread? My declaration that Biden is NOT my president or that Trump should be impeached again? What will really matter at the end is whether I stood for truth and loved people like Jesus did, even my enemies. That is a biblical mandate — look it up.
Those who say the church in America is doomed discredit God tremendously. True Christian ideals cannot be outlawed. All around the world, the gospel is alive and well where people keep the faith and follow Jesus, and if they are deemed enemies of the state, they keep right on believing and loving right there in prison cells or before their executioners.
Those are my thoughts when considering my mortality. I know that the darker the dark, the lighter the light. This little light of mine? While I have it, I want to let it shine!