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  • David Horst

Living a pandemic life


I can hardly remember when social distancing, wearing a respirator mask, and washing or sanitizing my hands began. What started as a health and safety necessity has become an everyday habit — not so different from the time, years ago now, when strapping on a seatbelt or buckling on a bike helmet seemed, at first, just one more thing to do, one more chore, one more way to remind ourselves daily of the perils of living.

Living is a peril, but to obsess about the dangers of daily life creates fear and anxiety, and at worst, a sense of impending doom. But I will admit at least once a day during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have a “doom moment,” when I am immobilized, afraid, and hopeless. Sometimes I respond out of my heart of faith, believing that I will be well, you will be well, all will be well.

Other times I respond from a dark fatalism, knowing that I will die and we all will die in a time and way beyond our control.

Somewhere between faith and fatalism, between hopefulness and hopelessness, I find my strength and courage to carry on. The moment of doom passes, and I begin again — in humility, by grace, and with love.

Yes, we carry on yet even as we carry on we ask “Why?” because we are human and we look for reasons and seek meaning. The pandemic is not a punishment from God yet should not be dismissed as simply bad luck either. We neither deserve nor not deserve the pandemic and the death and destruction it is causing, but we must be honest about the conditions that have created the likelihood of this virus: Our abuse and corruption of nature, our lack of attention to public health, and our selfish thoughts, words, and actions.

We are living the pandemic life. Is it the end of the world or a new manifestation? Do we give in to fear or rise up in faith? Do we erect walls or build bridges?

I’ve made my choice. What is yours?


Photo: Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, Conn.

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© 2020 by DAVID M. HORST