Healthy for the Holidays

Right before Thanksgiving I went and had a Covid 18+1 test. I wasn’t having any symptoms, no fatigue, no fever, no breathing issues, but I went and had a test. I wasn’t going home for Thanksgiving to see my parents or gathering with any other group that might be a risk, but I went and had a test. I had wondered for months if I had the virus at some point and didn’t know it. And I wondered if maybe I didn’t have it but thought I did because my throat was scratchy during allergy season, because I woke up with body aches (duh, I’m pushing 60 and trying to run like I’m 30), because I felt fatigued. And I wanted to know what it felt like. I’m not certain how many brain cells came out along with whatever other fluid they got from poking around for 5 minutes. She said it was 5 seconds but her counting and my counting were VASTLY different. 24 hours later I received an email, a text, and a voicemail that all agreed I was negative – the communication was nothing if not thorough for which I was grateful, especially that all the messages agreed. They also cautioned for me to remember that the negative test was approximately 90-94% accurate and that the result meant that I was negative that day at that time. It did not guarantee that if I was exposed even later that day, that I would still be negative for any length of time.

I had influenza A last year around Thanksgiving. There was no question in my mind I was sick. After going to an urgent care center and receiving a negative result on a swab up my nose, I was told to go home and take some Advil. When my temp. was still 102 the next day I went to my own Dr.’s office whose nurse immediately said after weighing me that I had influenza A. I looked back at the number on the scale and asked how she could tell I had the influenza alphabet by the number registered about my weight. She was kinda gruff and larger than me so I was a little afraid. She rolled her eyes and said that my weight had nothing to do with it. BUT, that most any person she asks to step on the scale will immediately begin peeling off their coat, their shoes, their jewelry, and any other external objects they might believe will take off 10-20 lbs. immediately. “But you,” she says, “you didn’t even complain that it wasn’t what you came for, you just stepped on the scale wearing your coat, hiking boots, and hat and stood there like you might die.” She then shared that yes, she still had to poke the thing up my nose to make sure, but she already knew. And she was right.

Did I ever think the “good old days” would be knowing you felt sick, going to have it confirmed, and then being given tammiflu that, while not a cure, was most likely going to reduce the time it would take for the virus to be done and if you’d had the flu shot, knowing you would most likely get well. Influenza of alphabet letters is nothing to mess with, but the covids 18+1 put us over 300,000 deaths in the U.S. in a 9 month period. It isn’t the same.

We’re pulling together all the worship services for the 4th Sunday of Advent, CHRISTMAS EVE, and the 1st Sunday of Christmastide, December 27 this week. And they are wonderful and exciting and . . . I’m a little sad. The poinsettias arrived yesterday and they are particularly lovely this year. There’s still an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing we can’t gather and knowing it’s the best decision and that next year I’m certain will be different, but it’s still hard.

Mary and Joseph hard? A walking, maybe riding a donkey trip in the last days of pregnancy hard? A not very hospitable welcome and laying a newborn baby in a manger hard? A fleeing to Egypt to find a place to live because the leader of the land wants to kill your infant child hard? Maybe not so much. And yet, still hard.

We’ll all carry on, you know. Our families and friends and congregation will carry on with a different kind of holiday. Except those who can’t, because they’ve said goodbye to a loved one with or without virus this year. A service tomorrow and another on one on Monday and another family who will wait until after the vaccine has made things different to say their final goodbyes. It’s different, and we carry on. It’s complex and disappointing and upside down and sideways, and we carry on. Maybe that will be the way bigger learning for our kids than the academics and the zooming and the hybrids and the remoteness. Maybe this will be the year and half in the middle of growing where it seeps into their being that human beings do their best, and fail, and try some more, and fall down, and get up, and argue and disagree, and try some more and Simply. Keep. Going. Resiliency isn’t often learned best during easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. AND, I’m good with this being enough of this way of learning, and let’s do what it takes to move beyond this deadly virus chapter of life.

I don’t know if I’ll get another covids 18+1 test if I don’t have symptoms. I do know that when the vaccine becomes available for my age and place in life, I will stand in line to receive it, and I will go back for the second shot without question. I was hesitant several months ago, but when a Dr. Fauci bobblehead is made available, I will put him by John Wesley. I honestly believe he doesn’t have a horse in this race other than this virus being defeated for global health sake. If he takes it, I take it. I know we have no way of knowing the long-term effects of the vaccine, but we know too well the current effects of the virus on 300,000 without counting the number who will have chronic health issues for an unknown length of time.

I’ll end on my happiest announcement note. WE ARE HAVING DRIVE-IN ROOFTOP WORSHIP ON CHRISTMAS EVE AT 4:30!!!! I know, right? I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! Remember the FM station worship we did over the summer? It’s that only colder! Here are the upfront qualifications and limitations: The temp. must be predicted at 25 degrees Fahrenheit or higher – that’s on Busby and right now he’s predicting 36 so all good; there must be NO PRECIPITATION of any kind – I promise Santa will still be able to make it to your homes later even if there’s NO SNOW at 4:30 p.m.; and we will make the final call to GO OR NO GO on December 23 by 4:30 and put the final decision on all our Social Media Platforms and email.

So just as it’s getting dark at 5:00-5:10, we will pass the light of our headlights along the rows of cars as we sing Silent Night!!! Once in a lifetime memorable Christmas Eve Event that we’ll celebrate and hope to never have to do again! Wahooooo!

ANNNNNNNNND . . .There’s still time to register for the free LIveStream Cloverton Concert for this Sunday, December 20 at 6:00 p.m. The youtube below will convince you why . . .



See what’s up at Grace for Christmas!