An April 2021 email from my son's school stated that we have been in pandemic lockdown mode with social distancing, mandatory mask requirements, and other inconveniences for 400 days. This gave me pause. We have had 400 days of what I would call “a long, cold winter” in my small mountain town to avoid touching each other, learning to communicate with our faces covered, substituting in-person meetings with virtual, and trying all possible ways to keep the virus from entering our schools and our homes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I washed my groceries because the Surgeon General suggested so. We left boxes and mail in the garage for a few days as instructed to avoid possible viral transfer. We lived in fear as we watched the news of rising death tolls. I sat through many educational meetings for geriatric healthcare professionals to learn about containment and mitigating risk in nursing homes to protect frail, older adults. There were weeks and months without physical contact with even close family members. The country existed in little pods to minimize the spread of a deadly virus. Churches closed or went online. Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) groups struggled, some going virtual and new ones still sprouting up. We learned how to use Zoom or FaceTime to stay connected, but it still felt like winter all year long.
The winter seemed to go on and on, as though there wasn't even a spring the past year or so. But now the grass is starting to get greener and the sky is a bright blue. The weather is warming with longer days of sunlight. The COVID-19 vaccines are more widely available and a good percentage of people in our surrounding counties are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease. Spring is here and summer is coming! For all these months that we have just been existing and trying to survive and stay healthy, it seems the end might be in sight. Masks may be able to be stored in the closet as a remembrance. Meetings may resume in person. Children are returning to normal school days. Fear may be dissipating. Maybe we will refer to the post-COVID era someday.
I am most looking forward to rekindling relationships. Life is about relationship! This global crisis caused me to see that I truly did miss being with other people—online or on the phone is just not good enough. Could it be that seeing the faces of the people we love or work with is now more precious because we have been forced apart for so long? I can't wait to attend church in person without wearing a mask. I want to participate in every bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, baptism, family reunion, and traveling vacation. I intend to hug more, visit more, and refuse to let work dominate my life. God has sustained through fear and trials, losses, and grief.
Soon, NCF student groups will start again on campuses across the United States. Perhaps our long separation will regenerate the need for nurses and nursing students to gather together to pray and embrace God's Word. Nurses Christian Fellowship groups are all about relationship. So, if you have been missing fellowship during this long COVID winter, rejoice, because summer is coming!
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