I find myself in that place where I am wondering if I am getting sick. You know that place—that place where your throat tickles a little, your nose is itchy and sneezy, and your head hurts a bit. It is an in-between state, wondering if you are going to be out for the count or you just got a poor night of sleep. The questions run through your brain: Is it covid? Is it the flu? RSV? Or is it just in my mind? Guess it could be any or all of these things. I just don’t know yet. Fingers crossed that it is just in my mind, especially this week!
It struck me today that we have been living in that in-between time for the past three years. If you are anything like me, you have had “covid” in the back of your mind anytime your throat tickled. Or you heard someone cough next to you. Or you saw a person blow their nose. Even now when things are slowly getting back to “normal,” I still feel like I am carrying this invisible burden of covid. Am I sick? Will I get someone I love sick?
We are truly in an Advent moment when it comes to the pandemic. We have seen immense progress…vaccinations and treatments are keeping people out of the hospital. We are returning, to a certain extent, to the things that we love and missed during that last several years. But covid is still here and it is still making people really sick. Many public health experts are saying that we are getting sicker with the flu and RSV because covid has diminished our immune systems dramatically. Some of us are living with the real struggle of long covid. We are getting the taste of the new normal, but we are also still wandering around not yet sure of where we will land. Promise has been given, but not fully realized.
Living in this in-between time can be exhausting. Are we in the pandemic still or have we truly reached the endemic stage? Is that tickle in the back of our throats just the common cold or something more serious? Are we able to continuing doing some of the things we love (like singing in worship) for good or are we going to have restrict ourselves again? Will God really bring about true Hope, Peace, Joy and Love? We have gotten glimpses of the promise but we are still living in a wounded world.
The beauty of this is that we have the privilege of being on this journey together. None of us are alone in this struggle. We have a faithful God and we have a beautiful, if imperfect, community.
That is good news!