I was so angry.
Sad, too, but angry mostly.
This weekend, COVID positive hit our family.
While I was shocked, once I absorbed the news, I was pissed.
Excuse me, but I was.
Not any sort of holy angry but straight up “it’s not fair,” pity party anger.
We have been SO careful since my diagnosis.
We were always somewhat careful, no big travel, no parties, etc., but I mean lock down, hard core serious since December. We saw none of Bray’s siblings or the kids cousins. We went nowhere except for the farm where his parents were, who also had been absolutely nowhere. Bray had to still work but his job is primarily outdoors.
I flippin’ kept the kids home from school last week as a PRECAUTION so we would not catch COVID. I just needed to stay clear until February 4th. (I’d love to never have it, but I realize with school and groceries, etc., there’s always the possibility.)
I railed on the phone to my two closest friends. I went to get tested, which came back negative, but that doctor recommended I move out to preserve my surgery date. The kids pediatrician recommended I move out to preserve my surgery date. Go into isolation to get to February 4th.
I don’t know what planet medical recommendations come from sometime. They are done in the best and kindest way, but if you are a working mom of three who are having to homeschool because of COVID, what happens when the mom leaves the house? I help them with school. I cook three meals. Yes, they are 11 now, but they aren’t 16.
It just made me angrier.
And the brutal reality about COVID, which every one of you know by now, is that NO ONE CAN HELP!! I told my regular nanny not to come because I wasn’t about to expose anyone to this. My mom is high risk. One of my dear friends told me she would come over regardless. She’s a mom. I told her no way. She sent me pics of haz mat suits – she was willing 🙂 (A momentary laugh in a day of fury…)
I told my best friend I was angrier at these damn results than I was when I got the news about breast cancer. How do all these people travel around the country and see their families and not contract this stupid awful horrible thing but WE get exposed?!?!?! I was nothing more than a toddler throwing a tantrum that I didn’t get what I wanted.
But I’ll tell you this – if this whole cancer business was a test, one where I learn I can’t control everything, I wasn’t passing. Because I was doing a pretty good job controlling things. Working- check. Kids school – check. Right doctors and medical plan – check. You know what turned that mild sense of still having some control on its head? COVID.
If you don’t struggle with control, then you fully recognized long ago you’re on this life thing as a rider. You do the best you can but you have no control. But me, well I keep trying to “manage” it all.
Even regarding help. I kept telling everyone I didn’t need help, because I didn’t. But when this hit, we had some families offer to bring us dinner this week. For those of you who follow my social media, you knew I’d been on a soup kick (post coming tomorrow) so I was all set until today. So I finally accepted some generous offers to drop food. But then I felt guilty. I mean we have financial means and a Door Dash/Instacart app, who are we to accept people bringing us dinner?
It’s a vicious cycle this thinking you can manage it all by yourself.
I wrote this on Facebook on Monday, in a brief moment of leaning into my faith:
One of my dearest friends and fiercest prayer warriors was talking about Psalms yesterday.
I was sharing some of my favorites – ones with Bob Ross happy clouds in them.
She shared about a sermon her pastor taught on Psalm 88. The only one that ends without praise. A Psalm, he called it, for the clinically depressed. He preached on lament. She remembers she was tired of being sad.
I read it this morning. A Psalm 88 morning. I feel like we are on a rollercoaster. Good news which brings hope and then another blow.
David writes: I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you. Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise you? Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me? Psalm 88
There’s no catchy joy at the end. No “I praise you for your wonders Lord!” But faith. You know. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Another dear friend wrote this to me last night as I was sinking: This is where I always start when the world is spiraling – Heidelberg 1 baby: What is my ONLY comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ. He watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my father in heaven.
So, in case you are trapped in a Psalm 88 day, week, year… let’s just start with praying a simple catechism together, and remember all things work together.
I believe all of that. But I’m still sad and mad. And when we said our bedtime prayers Sunday night, the kids were shaking their fists and asking why. I told them to bring all of that to God. Trying to suppress what you really feel to “be presentable” to a God who knows anyways is no good. We’ll just keep reading through these Psalms. It reminds us that for centuries people have brought their suffering and loneliness and sinfulness and anger and sadness and frustration to God.
Sometimes, we can close those days in praise. Sometimes we can’t. I remember a happy clappy praise song we’d sing when I was a teenager, “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord… and we offer up to you, the sacrifices of thanksgiving.” I mean this could not BE a more cheerful sing-songy chorus. But as it ran through my head as I sat in the urgent care parking lot, I thought about how shallow a faith that is. The smiley-cheery sacrifice of praise? It should be a mournful dirge. On days like today, if you can muster up a closing prayer with praise, it is a huge sacrifice and it is done with pain and humility.
“Thank you God for all the ways you have provided. For the community of people surrounding us with help and prayer. For the house. For the stock of soups made before we’d know we need it. Thank you God for a way forward. For modern medicine. For friendships and the ability to learn still even from home…”
All true. But a sacrifice.