COVID19. It is the crisis the entire world is focused on. This sickness consumes my conversations and thoughts. It worms its way into my prayer, and no not in a good way but rather in the I have to plan for every worst case scenario right now-way.
Since word of Peru’s strict quarantine, the service-doer within me has been going crazy stressing over everyone in our town. They’re out of work, uncertain, and waiting. Everyone is just waiting. I can’t quite explain it. It’s as if the whole world is holding its breath.
I’ve noticed a few different reactions meet this sense of waiting: grasping, distraction, and isolation.
And I am so guilty of all three. What do I mean by grasping? I mean trying to fix something that is so out of my control. When Peru mandated the quarantine, my thoughts were racing on how the people would suffer as a result of less work and even worse, if the virus came to our little farming town.
What could I do? I have been handing out my phone number left and right to everyone I know and posting it on our door with the same message, “If you need anything at all, please call me.” My heart ached knowing I wouldn’t be able to do the customary Peruvian “woo” sound at the door to announce my presence and hug people with the love of Christ as we greeted one another. And I wouldn’t be able to make sure they were healthy or well fed or had their proper medicine. This realization crushed me. Our team has been able to help out about 12 families with small bags of groceries but it will never seem like enough.
Then there’s my good pal, distraction. I have to admit, I’ve been immersing myself in books and social media and phone games a lot more than I normally would. I’ve been indulging in naps and phone calls with friends to distract myself from the rising fear within me that the next obstacle or need would be too great to handle. When will I hear that the quarantine has been extended again? Who would share their next crisis that I would feel obligated to fix? It seems as if I can feel the whole world’s problems like a shadow breathing down my neck. News story after news story, phone call after phone call makes me question my decisions and think, “Am I doing everything wrong?”
The last reaction is quieter, subtler—isolation. While everyone is isolated in their own way during quarantine, my introvert self has found itself seeking more and more time to draw inward; to ignore the sensation of worst case scenarios sitting in my mind. And yet, the burden seems so much lighter when I let people in to share my worries. The times I’ve shared a particular struggle with my team, they have responded with compassion and reason helping me lighten the burden I have so stubbornly been carrying— the burden that I have to somehow fix everything (there’s that grasping again).
Needless to say, I suck at waiting. And yet, I can’t help but be in awe at the timing. All this has happened during Lent and we are now entering into a time of more intense waiting—when Jesus enters the tomb and the disciples are scared out of their minds that their leader, their friend, the person that has been mentoring and loving them over the past few years was just brutally murdered before their eyes.
“But Jesus cried out in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.”Matthew 27:50-52
And so they waited. They waited unsure of the next step and unaware that the greatest miracle of all time would occur in just a few short days.
And so this is what I must do. I too, wait, unsure of what will happen next while in a farming town of a third world country during a worldwide pandemic. I wait for the miracle of Christ’s Resurrection during this generation’s biggest crisis. And so I ask you, brothers and sisters, how are you waiting? With the grasping, distraction, and isolation? Or with the knowledge and surety that the greatest miracle is just around the corner?