We're being "pretty safe" - masks everywhere, no crowded places, social distancing, just a little socializing. But writing about COVID-19 and me...the emotions are all over the place

The Explosion of COVID-19

We went to church on November 1, and have not been back since. We were planning on having some vulnerable people for Thanksgiving dinner, so we planned on being as safe as possible for their sake. Our church is doing church God's way - and nobody is turned away so there's little opportunity for "social distancing". Masks are a matter of conscience so there's no guarantee that those who have the virus are not spreading it.

COVID has exploded in our county. Since we only had 35(ish) cases in our county since the beginning, we didn't feel as though we were risking others to go. I checked our county's counter on Thanksgiving Day and there were 346 active cases...and 30 in our church...yikes! In the space of three weeks, we were over 900. At that point we felt really okay with our choice to not be in church.

The Current Situation

New cases in our county are starting to decrease. One next door neighbor (a couple) both had it. A local nurse lives on the other side and said that it's as bad as they say (our local hospital only has 32 beds)

The Emotional Impact of COVID

I miss going to church. I miss hearing the voices of the saints gathered around me in worship. Live-streaming is not the same and I can't listen to the music or I just sit there and cry.

The wise thing to do is to stay home for now. My kids are coming into town on Christmas Day and will be in three different airports. I don't want to add an extra layer of exposure.

Processing the "why"

My dad told my husband, about five weeks before he died, "take care of my little girl." Part of doing that is keeping me safe, even when it's hard to be safe. Honoring my husband and my father means being content and helping Phil keep me safe.

Our pastor put out a video-devotional and asked, "do we need to be afraid of COVID? No."

The first reason is that for a Christian, there are worse things that dying. True, but I have a hard time making a life or death decision for somebody else, especially those family members who are not believers.

The second reason is that COVID really has a pretty low death rate. True, but the long-term affects can be pretty bad. We saw a man at the gas station who could barely walk...he said that it was neurological side-effects of COVID. So even with a low death rate, *NOT* dying could leave me being a burden on my husband, and more.

The third reason is that we should trust God. But...there is a line between trusting God and testing God and I want to be on the right side of that line. Asking God to protect us when we doing what we can to protect ourselves is one thing. Asking God to change the nature of how a virus works so that we don't have to do what we can to keep ourselves safe...that's another thing.

**NOTE: the line where people trust God or test God will be in different places for different people. Maybe it's a lack of trust that has me feeling that I'm testing Him. I have no judgement whatever (and perhaps feel a bit envious) toward those who are attending church services.

So...For Now

We're planning on socializing with families that we know are doing their best to be as safe as they can be, all things considered.

We're going to enjoy time with my kids, without going to crowded places.

After the holidays, we're going to stay away from church for the 10 days and revisit how we feel at that point, taking into consideration what the county numbers are.

At this point, I think that we're honoring God with out bodies by keeping our loved ones as safe as we can.

The shut-down

What a year for church and COVID-19. When COVID shut-down first happened in March, our church did shut down.

We watched the Easter Service on our patio. I discovered that it is too difficult for me to sing along with a live-stream. Emotionally, I *need* to hear the voices of the saints around me and watching on TV is too much like the performance-based concert method of "worship".

-By the way, what Phil and I are calling the "COVID series" of sermons (March shut down) were some of the best sermons that I've heard *EVER* If I have readers, use the contact form and I'll send you the link.-

Our elders took the decision, shortly after Easter, that we would follow Biblical instructions and begin meeting in person. We typically have Sunday School, a main service, lunch together and then a second (afternoon) service and all are different.

The elders wanted to stay as close to the State mandates as they could, while still obeying God. There would be no Sunday School, no lunch, and no afternoon service. We would have two identical services, one is the Sunday School time slot and one in the regular time slot. The congregation was divided in half by alphabet and assigned to a service and the rows of seats were either pink or yellow. One service sat in yellow rows, the other in pink rows. Mask were a matter of conscience.

The opening

A couple of months ago, it was announced that we were going back to the regular schedule and so we did. It was good.

Then, this latest "surge" - we noticed it in the prayer requests, and kept pace with the general public. Near the beginning of November, Phil and I decided that due to travel and visitors here, that we should stay at home until this all sorted itself out. Dismay is a good word for our feelings as we watched the daily numbers.

The elders, in wisdom, put a hold on the afternoon service and lunch - and the congregation sits in every-other row.

The "us"

Spiritually, we need the body of believers. We need to join together in worshiping God. To that end, we are wavering on the "stay at home" - at least for church. I'm not going to the gym, classes, studies.

We may wear masks (although that won't protect us). COVID doesn't have an expiration date and our spiritual lives are more important that our physical lives. Eternity over the temporal.

I want to go to church. Is it fear or wisdom that would keep me away? What emotion would keep me from wearing a mask?

In Nevada we've been on COVID-19 "Stay At Home" orders for over a month. Small business owners are beginning to speak up and tell us that they cannot survive much longer. Who knows when federal money will come through?

Among the fear-monger folks, any talk reopening brings the accusation, "so you want people to die!"

They pit the economy against the lives of the vulnerable, and perhaps they're right to an extent.

Pro-abortion folks are giddy at the thought that they can now accuse conservatives of being pro-death, when it comes to those vulnerable to COVID-19.

There's a big difference between an elective abortion and the vulnerable to COVID-19.

The difference

One is an active choice to end a human life. The other is a side effect of trying to heal life to be as normal as it will be.

We cannot think of this in terms of an elective abortion, because we're not choosing death. We must think of this in a Roman Catholic sort of way.

If a woman has uterine cancer and is pregnant, the cancer is at a place where the uterus needs to be removed in order for her to live:

If the progression of the cancer will not allow for that option, and the mother needs surgery immediately if she is going to live, you, as her doctor, have only two choices: You can allow both patients to die or you can save one and lose the other. The moral choice is to save the mother.

And the COVID-19 situation isn't even that dire! If the young mother has a different kind of cancer that can be treated and the indirect and unintended consequence *MAY* be the death of the child, it's still a moral choice to save the life of the mother.

Just so with COVID-19. The intent is to do everything that can be done to protect the lives of the vulnerable, while saving the life of the economy and the livelihoods of millions of people.