Exploring Faith During a Pandemic
It seems like I’ve been exploring faith since the day I was born. My mother and grandparents were very religious. The church was our most frequent source of comfort and entertainment as I grew up. It seemed like we were there multiple times each week, not just for services and Sunday School. It was the social hub of our small community.
When this whole mess started (Covid Pandemic), I was frightened.
I didn’t want to die!
Back then, there were no shots available. If you wanted a mask, you needed to make one yourself.
My brother lives on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and we were down visiting him when the early death counts began rolling in.
A friend of my sister-in-law made masks for Mike and me. I was so grateful to at least have that, but I was terrified of staying in motels on the drive home. How could I possibly sleep in a bed where someone may have been suffering from Covid? We were over 1,200 miles from Wisconsin.
There wasn’t a moment in time that I didn’t believe God would provide an answer.
I didn’t know if his answer would mean staying on the Gulf Coast or whether we’d be able to make it home safely.
I was hopeful when the phone pinged, and my son was calling. He and his brother planned to meet us in southern Illinois. They would then drive both our cars back to Wisconsin.
I was nervous, but I trusted their decision. What would it be like to drive 1,200 miles in one day?
It was grueling, but I’d packed food so we wouldn’t have to stop anywhere to eat.
When we finally made it home, it felt like I was still moving. I won’t tell you about the lecture I received from my cardiologist for that trip, but I thanked God repeatedly for getting us home safely.
Exploring Faith and Beliefs
I watched a movie last week about the heroic efforts to bring a female service member home from Afghanistan. At the end of the film, they played the song America, as they showed the woman when they extracted her from dangerous territory.
My mind was spinning. Where was the America I loved? Where was the America where our citizens worked together to overcome any obstacle for the better good? Tears flowed down my cheeks.
At that moment, I realized I’d been grieving for over two years now.
My grief for those lost souls who did not make it through the pandemic is overwhelming.
I grieved over people disseminating inaccurate information and the refusal to do everything possible to prevent more death.
How could so many I call “friend” and “family” abdicate all responsibility for the needs of others by refusing the vaccine?
I grieved over my imprisonment in my home for the past two years. Even with the vaccine, I know my odds aren’t good with an auto-immune condition, so I have stayed home. I miss my friends and my community. Honestly, I miss life.
As I shed more tears, I realized I’m at a loss as to the lack of empathy I’ve seen from other Americans. I grieve for the violence and anger displayed in the trucker caravans, mask and vaccine boycotts, school board confrontations, and illogical news broadcasts pointing fingers and putting the lives of medical personnel and leaders at risk.
Exploring Faith Unexpectedly
My tears lasted for nearly an hour after the movie ended. I didn’t know I’d been holding in so much raw emotion.
I remember the day a very dear friend whispered to me about the vaccine in a meeting where the request was that the unvaccinated should not attend: The words: “I will not get the vaccine, because God will protect me,” was like a knife stuck between my ribs.
Somehow, I managed a manufactured smile and kept my mouth shut as my thoughts tumbled over themselves:
Grandma would tell you that God helps him who helps himself.
My God is loving, too. He gave us the tools and skills to develop a vaccine that will prevent you from being put on a ventilator or dying. By not taking it, aren’t you genuinely being tempted by the devil?
Why would anyone who is a friend knowingly jeopardize my safety?
How could our theological beliefs be so completely different?
Has this person’s political affiliation clouded an ability to research and understand?
How can I possibly bridge this massive chasm between our concepts of faith?
Do I have to place myself in danger to protect the friendship I treasured?
My Christianity has taught me to love others, and I will not judge this person. I will, instead, distance myself and grieve what once was.
I will repeat, ‘My God is a loving God.’ I don’t hold grudges, and I certainly will never call for harm to come to those who disagree with me. None of us ever should.
I want my America back, or at least the one I always thought I had.
People should feel compassion for others, even when they disagree.
We need to distance ourselves from those who can cause us harm. I’ve read so many posts from people against the vaccine, but who changed their minds when it was too late to save them from Covid.
Hopefully, there will soon be a return to an America where people care about each other. I long for an America where we don’t call for violence over a disagreement in principles.
Aren’t we all exhausted from the rhetoric and acceptance of violence?
Hope and Faith Walk Hand-in-Hand
Our families and friendships are breaking. My faith tells me to “Love my neighbor.” There are no qualifiers to that statement.
My faith tells me we should only use assault rifles in battle. I don’t particularly care what position a man holds when he determines he now has permission to kill someone he doesn’t agree with or who he feels is inferior.
My faith denies those perceptions.
Where are we now? There can never be hope where there is no faith.
How can we move forward if we continually interpret God’s word based on the pressures and needs of man rather than His true intent?
Let’s all explore faith and its principles.
I think we can still find hope. Are you with me?