Dear future little one,
In today’s crazy environment, everyone wants you to have a well thought out opinion about every subject within a minute of first hearing about it. I can’t do that. Only through repeated, prayerful reflection can I hear what the Lord is trying to teach me. Of course, writing out my conclusions in the form of these letters always helps, too! This time, it had to do with covid-19 and the lepers Christ healed throughout the New Testament. There’s been something, a thought, a lesson, in the back of my brain, straining to come out but I couldn’t quite grasp it until a few days ago. ButI think I finally came to some sort of conclusion I can share with others.
The Beginning of Covid-19 Symptoms
A little while ago, I came home from work one day and suddenly experienced a massive wave of nausea and aches and pain. A few hours in, I had all of the symptoms of covid-19. The cough, the fever, the sore throat, and the difficulty breathing. Literally all of the symptoms that the CDC lists on their of “What You Need to Know” page other than losing taste and smell.
I started low-key freaking out. Okay so it wasn’t actually all that low-key. I just straight up started freaking out. The magnitude of it all overwhelmed me. If I had covid-19, the Doseum (the children’s museum I teach at) would have to close down for deep cleaning. Co-workers who had worked that same days I had worked would be put in mandatory quarantine. Kyle would be put in mandatory quarantine. He’d completely miss out on the rest of his clinic rotation. In addition, he’d have to give up one of his only audition rotations next year (the ones you use to help you get a better residency position) to make up for the missed time.
Not to mention the possibility of having spread it to someone else on accident. I can’t even imagine the pain and guilt and just awfulness if I had spread it to someone unknowingly and they or a loved one got super sick because of me.
But even worse than all that… I felt so utterly alone.
I was home by myself since Kyle was working at the clinic with his preceptor. No phone calls allowed and he could only send off a text once or twice a day if he was lucky. I was in so much pain and so exhausted that I could barely get out of bed, let alone drive myself to go get covid tested. I was physically and mentally incapable of doing it on my own. But there was no one else I could call. I couldn’t take the chance of getting anyone else sick.
Leprosy and the Law of Moses
You see, I suddenly felt like those lepers that Jesus Christ would go around healing in the New Testament (Jesus cured leprosy in several people as shown in Matt. 8:2–4 Mark 1:40–45, and 3 Ne. 17:7–9). I was suddenly carrying this awful disease that could permanently damage or kill someone (depending on who I spread it to) just like those lepers. I couldn’t call and ask someone for a ride to go get covid tested. What if I infected them? I couldn’t ask someone to come sit with me while I suffered. What if I infected them? I was truly and utterly and completely alone.
Is that how those lepers felt before Christ healed them? Leviticus 13:45–46 states the requirements for when someone had leprosy. For how many years of their life did they have to avoid all human contact, yelling out “unclean” as they walked by so no one else would get too close? For how many years (years, not months like our little quarantine) did they feel isolated and cutoff from all touch, all compassion, all kindness from another human being?
Covid-19: Modern Day Leprosy?
I can appreciate their plight better now. After months of quarantining at home, I understand a little better what it was like to be cutoff from other humans beings. No hugs after a hard day. No After even just a few hours of feeling like there was no one I could call for help, no one I could reach out to for fear of infecting them, I better understand to isolate myself for the protection of others. After the fear of having to call every single person I’d interacted with in the past two weeks to tell them I’d had covid, I can understand the shame, the embarrassment of having to yell out “I’m unclean” to protect others.
But I can also better understand the love that Christ showed them.
I can better understand the relief and awe as another human being touched them for the first time in years. The tear-filled eyes and the desperate reaching out to make the contact last as long as possible. I can better understand the novelty of feeling noticed. Of feeling valued. Of feeling found.
What a remarkable experience that must have been for those lepers (and all other socially ostracized individuals that Christ ministered to individually and lovingly).
To feel seen. To feel supported. To feel whole. To feel loved.
The Test Results
After a few hours of freaking out, I managed to set up an emergency video call with one of my doctors. We talked about a new migraine medication I had just started on a few days before and he pointed out a different possibility. Sometimes people react negatively to the new medication, and it manifests with many of the same symptoms of covid. He instructed me to stop the new medication, but to go get tested for covid just in case.
Luckily, I didn’t actually have covid – my test came back negative (woohoo!). It was just my body hating on my new meds. But the feelings I experienced are still valid. The realizations I came to are still sound. In those moments when I thought I had covid-19, I truly felt completely and utterly alone in the world. I can’t adequately describe the despair and hopelessness that threatened to crush me.
But I also can’t adequately describe the all-consuming gratitude I felt for my Savior. In a moment when literally no one could be with me, He was with me. When I felt like there was no one to help me through, He was there holding me up. As cliche as it sounds, He was there to carry me when I couldn’t carry myself.
We Are Never Alone
This whole experience reminded me of the power of Christ’s atonement in my life. I am never alone. Ever. I always have someone to walk by my side and support me when the world becomes too much. No matter what it is – the death of a loved one, or a worldwide pandemic, or any other significant trial. I was never expected to be able do it alone.
And just like Christ healed those lepers so very long ago, He continues to heal me in this millennia constantly. Every day I have the ability to come to Him and asked to be forgiven of my sins, to be cleansed like the lepers. I just have to ask.
What Covid Taught Me About Christ and the Lepers
August 3, 2020