On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s (how good it feels to leave the house during a stay-at-home order!), I was walking back to my car after returning the cart and a lady about my age jumped out of her SUV trying to flag me down. She seemed concerned. ‘Ma’am, ma’am,’ she called, and then asked something like, ‘Did anyone give you a hard time about not wearing a mask in the store?’ I told her about one young boy who kinda shamed me by tattling in a whisper to his mom (loud enough for me to clearly hear 6 feet away), ‘She isn’t wearing a mask.’
This led to at least a 15-minute engaging conversation about our thoughts on the subject, which included discussing the various comfort levels people have with mask-wearing, and the virus in general. We introduced ourselves (her name is Trisha) and at the end of our time together, I simply and calmly stated, ‘This is the way I see it. I have three options. One, I don’t contract the virus, two, I contract the virus and recover from it, and three, I lose my life to the virus and meet my Savior.’
‘Yes!’ Trisha exclaimed and pointed right at me, smiling. ‘That’s exactly how I feel about it too!’ She walked toward the store with joy in her step and I got in my car thanking God for a fun interaction.
Note: This is NOT a posed debate about wearing a mask. Instead, it is an attempt to elaborate on the three options mentioned above, and to explain how I’ve considered kindness spreading as a result of each one. =)
Option 1: I don’t contract the virus.
I’m not exempt. No one is. There is a possibility for each one of us to contract the virus at some point, however the option of ‘not at all’ is certainly the most attractive! Getting sick is part of life, but inconvenient to say the least. I understand there are reports about people never showing symptoms by playing the role of a carrier, but I’m defining contracting the virus here as obviously showing the results of having it in my body.
If I never get it, praise God.
Not suffering from an illness allows for more time and energy to spread kindness in tangible ways, like helping my daughter deliver surprise gifts she has prepared for friends or organizing a sock donation drive for a local homeless outreach program. In a healthy state, it's often easier to remain calm and friendly to anyone who crosses my path, especially those who are completely stressed out in stormy circumstances. Most people appreciate a kind, considerate, positive attitude amidst the messy chaos, whether at the office, out and about, or posting online.
Option 2: I contract the virus, and recover.
Symptoms show, testing occurs, and it’s positive. The majority recover, but this would still be difficult to navigate … when to stay home and fight it, when to go to the hospital, how to keep my daughter from getting it, what steps to take as a single mom to still keep a household running while hardly being able to breathe. Here’s where faith and trust in God, would come into play in a big way. ‘Lord, I don’t know why You’ve allowed this. I feel terrible, and even worse if I somehow gave it to others while being contagious, but I trust Your plans for all of us. Your ways are always higher.’ (Isaiah 55:8-9)
If I get it, praise God.
The truth I've come to know is that God stays WITH me, even during difficult times, and this truth could be shared with others. Maybe I’m supposed to meet certain people during the recovery process, or maybe in the future, I can better encourage those who cross my path by having gone through the awful experience. You never know what tomorrow will bring, or what God has planned! Kindness can continue to spread, during and even after a potential visit to a hospital bed. As Pastor Lee from Ireland says in his COVID-19 recovery video, 'When God needs to reach you, He knows exactly who is the right person [sic] ... God can use anybody to reach His people.'
Option 3: I lose my life to the virus, and meet my Savior.
This option makes me want to cry and dance at the same time. Even though I know where my soul is going when my body runs out of time on Earth and there is no pain in heaven, I don’t want to die ... to leave my kids and other loved ones, opportunities to help people, and the pursuit of my dreams.
If it gets me, praise God.
This is when I must say, not my will but Yours be done (Luke 22:42). How could I spread kindness if I’m not here? Well, God might want to use my death to help someone find a relationship with Him. Can't argue with the beauty of that! He has all lives orchestrated and intertwined in ways we do not understand. Years down the road, people can still be inspired by those who have preceded them. That sure makes me want to live in a way now that will leave a legacy and a fragrance of grace and kindness for others in the future.
I think Trisha would agree.
PS If what I wrote about ‘knowing where my soul is going when I leave Earth’ didn't quite make sense, and you want clarification, please read through the backstory on the Prayers homepage along with the Here’s My Heart prayer, take a look at the Faith page, and email me from the Connect page with any questions. Having Jesus in my life is the best decision I have ever made, and thinking about spending eternity in heaven with Him seals the deal every day. Join me!