I was thinking...
With the slip of the tongue, our 5-year-old grandson asks the question, “Pop, when is the pan-dam-ic going to be over with?” We chuckled knowing what he meant but also knowing that we were all feeling a similar emphasis in our weariness with COVID-19 and all her variants.
I recall a physician friend saying to me in early 2020 that he thought that as many as a million people worldwide could be infected by the spread of COVID-19. He followed that quickly by saying, “Terry, you know I’m not an alarmist”. Yes, I know Ken well and I know he isn’t an alarmist, but his ‘prophecy’ continues to become truth… and then some.
Are you as weary with this ‘pan-dam-ic’ as I am? Just when it seems we are about to turn the corner, here comes another variant on our side of the road. I am weary with all the discussion about whether we should be vaccinated...or not. With a spouse who is immune-compromised due to cancer, there was never a question for us. We are vaccinated, boosted, and ready for whatever else is recommended by science and our physicians. Like most of you, we have known quite a few who have had COVID-19 and we have lost loved ones to premature death due to this terrible disease. I respect anyone’s decision to choose vaccination or not. I am grateful to my parents for their insistence that we Walton children be vaccinated for polio and smallpox in our early years. I worry that the vaccination issue has become too politicized and thus lives have been lost unnecessarily. Whether you agree or not, I wish this ‘pan-dam-ic’ would go away.
Have you ever been in a season of life when you wondered “Are things ever going to get better?” And once you exited such a season, you were so impacted by it, that even in the best of times you began to wonder “When is the next shoe going to drop?” Such seasons can impact in deep and abiding ways. We do become ‘seasoned’ by such ‘seasons’ of life.
I suggest to myself… perhaps you might find it helpful as well… that the adventure of life is better experienced when properly dressed. In the Apostle Paul’s day, there were readily available soldiers and thus their attire spoke to this suggestion. “…be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have everything, to stand…stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:10 ff, NIV)
It is said that “hope is not a strategy.” I understand that premise in terms of ‘counting the cost’ and ‘planning well’. But I contend that in one sense hope is a strategy. As a matter of fact, in some situations hope is the only strategy. For when we are hopeless, we are less than God created us to be. In this season of Advent and as we draw closer to the manger where an impoverished couple wondered about the birth of a baby, let us dress ourselves in the proper attire. Let us pay attention to more than the ‘pan-dam-ic,’ let us be hopeful people knowing that ‘this too shall pass.’ Let us be good stewards of our life and think of how we can be safe for others too. Stand firm, my friends. Emmanuel… God with us!
May we be ‘seasoned’ by God’s presence in this season.
The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop