As I announced on Sunday, a member of my household tested positive for covid last Wednesday. This morning he was still testing positive. And because of our various levels of exposure to him on different days leading up to the first positive test, we didn't know which of us might have been infected. So the four of us have been quarantining from one another for the past week: wearing masks in common spaces, running the air purifier, keeping doors closed, eating alone in separate rooms. I imagine that many of you have been through a similar scenario.
Then add the confusion over which of us should test, and when. Test five days after exposure?- but when was that exactly, if he may have been infectious for days before we knew? Test when we first have symptoms, or two days after? How long to wait between tests? The nurse said my daughter could go to school, but should she? What about her basketball game? How many rapid tests do we have left, and how can I make sure I have one for Sunday?! (Note: I tested negative Friday and Sunday mornings.)
And I say that amidst immense privilege: my partner and I can both work at home. We have enough money to use up $125 worth of covid tests. Our house is large enough that we can be in separate spaces.
Even so, there have been moments when I've wanted to fling open all the doors and rip off my mask and scream: I don't care anymore!! Let's all hug and eat ice cream!! Especially as I'm trying to settle back in after sabbatical, this "inconvenience" is not what I need right now.
But I don't rip off my mask. Because I have no interest in getting "long covid." Because we are called to love our neighbors in a way that is sacrificial, and that means not spreading the virus to others at schools, grocery stores or church. Because hospitals are stretched thin and I can honor healthcare workers by making sure I don't infect even one other person!-- because I don't know who might be unvaccinated or have an autoimmune disease or getting chemotherapy or any number of other things that make us vulnerable.
I am exhausted by the pandemic. We all are. We're tired of thinking about it, talking about, reading about it (sorry!), making decisions about it. We're tired of wearing masks and not singing hymns. Don't you just want to scream: I don't care anymore! Let's just all hug and sing Alleluia and eat donuts!!
And we will. WE WILL sing Alleluia and eat donuts. Hang in there, Good People! It's exhausting. But look outside! The sky is so blue today and there is more snow coming to blanket the loud world in softness and on Sunday we will be together.
May you find joy in small things. May you remember that all things pass. May you remember that you are not alone. Be well on this beautiful day!