VISION ARTICLE – July 8th “I’m Begging – Wear a Mask – for My Loved Ones and Yours!”

Amy, and I got tested for COVID-19 a week ago Monday at Sara Bush Lincoln Hospital. It was a fairly easy process. Stay in your car. Short line. Drive into the makeshift mini-clinic set up at the far end of the hospital complex. Listen, ironically, to Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” that is playing in the background. Give the staff a little info. Have each nostril thoroughly swabbed … but not too deep. Offer blessings and drive home. 2 days later – get the call for the results. We were both negative. 

So, at least as of last Monday, I did not have the Coronavirus. But, on the other hand, I could have it by today. Unless I get tested continuously, there’s really no way of knowing. 

The reason we got tested was 2-fold. My mom, Lois, was returning home from a 6-week stay at The Arthur Home where she received their usual dose of excellent care. Mom is 93 years young, and Amy and I, along with my sister Connie, are her primary caregivers. We see her everyday … and to be honest, sometimes it’s just not natural to maintain 6 feet separation. So, we got tested for my mom. 

The second reason we got tested was because our first grandchild just came into the world on July 1st. My son Jackson and his wife Heather live in Lexington, and after our grandson was born, it was just a matter of hours before Amy and I were loading up our cars and heading to Lexington. Can you relate? So, we also got tested for little Owen Andrew Silvanik. 

In either case, I don’t know how I would handle knowing that if either one of those super special people in my life got the COVID-19 virus, that they could have gotten it from me. Both of them would be very susceptible to serious consequences if they contracted the virus. I would rather have a very serious case of Coronavirus – even fatal – myself, than for either one of them to face the same thing because of me.

What about you? Do you have the virus? No matter what you think, the truth is you don’t really know. So many spreaders of the virus are asymptomatic. Just like me and Amy, you could be carrying the virus unknowingly … and unintentionally pass it on to someone else, who unintentionally passes it on to someone else, continuously passing it on until someone shows signs. Someone gets sick. Someone goes into the hospital. And someone dies. All because someone like me or you unsuspectingly and unintentionally passed the virus we didn’t know we had to someone else. 

That’s how it works, you know. And it’s always working. That’s what viruses do … they keep working. Just ask the folks in Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arizona and California. They thought the virus stopped working … at least in their area. Everything was cool … back to normal. Open the beaches! Open the bars! Let’s party!!!

In all those states this week, and others, they have discovered that COVID-19 is still working. And it’s a hard worker! Think about it: with all the cases and all the deaths that occurred in January, February and March, we are breaking records for both number of cases and percent tested positive. In all the states that thought they had seen the worst of it … that the COVID-19 virus was passing them by … that it was time to get back to normal … well, they’re numbers are skyrocketing. And more people are filling the hospitals. And people continue to die. 

Frightening, isn’t it? Many folks around here are thinking the same things … that we’ve seen the worst of it … that the COVID-19 has passed us by … that it’s time to get back to normal. I am definitely not a prophet, but it sounds to me like we’re setting ourselves up for an onslaught of COVID-19. We’re poised to be blindsided. 

As so many have found out in recent weeks, this virus is still working, and just because it hasn’t hit here hard yet, doesn’t mean it can’t or it won’t. Indeed, I have heard chatter that it’s now beginning to creep into small rural villages and towns … including Arthur! If that’s true, I fear we are in a very precarious position to defend ourselves. 

However, we are fortunate in that there is still time to respond and we know how to do it. It’s very simple actually, but it appears to offend some of us, or make us uncomfortable, or interfere with our plans and our lifestyle. Well, all of that’s true! But isn’t the sacrifice worth it. 

For many of you, so far, apparently it’s not worth it. Wearing a mask is too inconvenient or intruding. Maintaining 6-feet separation requires too much discipline. Hand washing is too time consuming. And not being able to party and socialize like before is depressing. 

So … if you find any of that to be true for you … may I make one more appeal to you, since we could be on the brink of an outbreak.

Please … wear a mask. Maintain social distancing. Wash your hands compulsively. Discover that time alone and in seclusion can be time to connect with God and family in deep and rewarding ways.

Please … friends and neighbors. Do this not for yourself. That’s not the point of making these sacrifices. But do it for your neighbors. That’s what Jesus asks of us today … to become a selfless servant. To love our neighbor as ourselves. To see the world around you from the perspective of the other … not yourself. To have the vision to recognize that this is NOT about you … it’s about your neighbor, your elderly family members, your kids. And everyone else’s elderly family members and kids. It’s about US … our village! That’s my prayer for us. 

And … ultimately, back to my own perspective, it’s about Lois … and Owen. So … if you’re still not willing to do it for your family or your neighbors … do it for them … my 93 year old mom and my week old grandson. I’m begging you. Please … do it for them. I’ll do it for you. I’m asking as a neighbor. Together, let’s keep this virus under wraps … let’s minimize its impact. Because it’s coming … and I think it might already be here …

Serving God and Loving Neighbor … I am,

Pastor Bob