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Maintaining hope through scary COVID crisis, and having faith things will get better

·3 min read

As a parish priest, I’d been eager to plan an autumn packed full of opportunities for worship, spiritual formation and fellowship. I couldn’t wait until our Treasure Valley communities had lots of events going on to bring people together after a long year and a half.

But, here we are. We are six months out from the wide availability of vaccines, and we’re still dealing with this coronavirus. Our hospitals are now filled with people who would not otherwise be there, except for this virus. Why?

Why did the vaccine (developed and distributed under one presidential administration and continued under another) become this political flash point? Seriously — your political leaders and favorite pundits definitely got the vaccine, whether or not they are persuading you to avoid it.

Why did simple stuff like face coverings and hand washing become a ground for grumbling? Sure, masks can be annoying, but medical personnel wear them for hours and hours!

Why did people try to explain away the mortality of COVID-19 by saying it was only people with pre-existing conditions? Those are all people who could have been alive today if it weren’t for the virus.

Why did so many Americans decide that minor inconveniences were tyranny, and then flock like sheep to any number of conspiracy theories about the “real” treatments? First it was hydroxychloroquine and zinc, now it is ivermectin. I wonder what will be the next wonder treatment.

We should have been out of the worst of it. We should have been on track for a new normalcy. But we’re not any closer to being out of the pandemic, and it’s not because the goalposts moved. The ball wasn’t going to move forward unless we all worked together.

I hear your grief. I hear your confusion, your exhaustion, your frustration.

Let me say this to you: Thank you for doing your best. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to our medical community, for trying to take sensible precautions, and for adapting as we learned more about COVID.

Thank you for your willingness to embrace even a little discomfort in order to try to help others.

Thank you for moving us forward as best as you could.

Thank you for that gift of hope. Without you, we would surely be in a more difficult place. Who knows how many people might have been saved death because of a little thing you did — not just from COVID, but so many other things. Only God knows.

None of us knows how much longer this will go on. Projections can give us only a little glimpse of a possible future.

But every little thing you do gives me hope that by Christmas, maybe, just maybe, we can all gather to sing “Joy to the World” — together, with fullness of heart.

Thank you for giving me hope that we can get through this together.

The Rev. Joseph Farnes serves as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Boise. The Idaho Statesman’s religion column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.

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