Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials.” James 1:2
I didn’t even know she was invited to the dance and I certainly don’t remember dancing with her. Her name is Corena…my new name for COVID-19. As we all know, in early March 2020, the word on everyone’s lips was the COVID-19 or the corona virus. Regardless, it changed our lives. We went through lockdowns, closedowns, and mask mandates. Toilet paper and dozens of other items suddenly flew off the shelves and became hot items on the black market. Myself included and millions of others escaped the initial onset of the virus, and I breathed a sigh of relief when at the end of January, I was able to get the first of two shots of the Moderna vaccine. A month later I received my second shot, and I counted the days, hours, and minutes for the next two weeks. I made it. I was fully vaccinated and fully expected not to have to endure a personal attack of the COVID-19 virus.
I know in our area there were like 13,000 people fully vaccinated. Of those, there were only 41 break-through cases—cases of people getting the virus after being fully vaccinated. Imagine only 41 out of 13,000. Those were odds I could live with. Well, I guess I should go buy a lottery ticket because I became one of those break-through cases. I had unknowingly danced with Corena, and lost. It went like this. Last Tuesday, I woke up with a bit of a cough…not the deep throaty kind but the itchy, catch in your throat kind. You know, these days if you cough people scatter in six different directions. Well, I went to work and told my co-workers not to worry. “Just allergies,” I said. “It happens every year,” I said. And it does, but not this time.
That night I slept horrible. When my wife got up that morning, I explained I had really slept poorly. “Just allergies,” she said. “It happens every year,” she said. So then I merrily went to work at the office, attributing my occasional cough to allergies and my tiredness to lack of sleep. Wednesday night was, well, not fun. I tossed, turned, coughed, got hot and then got cold. In the morning, I told Judy that I thought I had a sinus infection. I messaged my friend and doctor to see if he would write me a script for an antibiotic…like a Z-Pack. At Judy’s prodding, I also told him that I would take a COVID test if he felt I should. He thought it wise. I have a wise friend and doctor.
So, it was Thursday morning, when I got tested and twenty-five minutes later I learned that I had indeed danced with Corena—the COVID virus. I don’t know where I got it, nor does that matter. What I do know is that in a matter of a few hours I had a new respect for the virus and those who danced with her before it became my turn. I felt awful. In fact, referring to my heart stint deal three years ago, I told my daughter I would take the heart attack over my dance with Corena. Judy said I was talking out of my head. No, I really think I would. I managed to have almost all the symptoms and none of them made my list of top things I want to do again.
Well, if nothing else comes out of this, I know I have a better empathy for others. You see empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is to walk a mile or so in someone else’s shoes. I have prayed for a lot of people who danced with Corena, and I promise you I will pray a little harder now. I have felt sympathy for those who have suffered from the dance, but I will feel a deeper sympathy now.
There is one thing that didn’t change from my dance with Corena. It is my absolute certainty that God is in absolute control of every aspect of my life…and yours. He allowed me to dance with her so that I could learn about empathy, and sympathy, and maybe, just maybe, about slowing down because trust me…I slowed down. Remember that verse that James the half-brother of Jesus wrote that said, “Hey, count it all joy when you find yourself in all kinds of trials?” Well, I’ve taught that Biblical joy is a “deep sense of wellbeing based on one’s faith in God and trust in His sovereign will.” It is the chance to test what you say you believe. Now, that’s a good thing.
So, if you have danced, or are dancing with Corena…I feel your pain. If your family has suffered loss after the dance, I hurt with you and pray you will keep trusting the heavenly Father. And I know one more thing. I always try to end my story with the words, “He’s got this.” Well, I am more, not less, convinced that He does indeed, “have this.” Bro. Dewayne