Having recovered from Covid-19 this month, I have a new appreciation for how Lazarus may have felt when Jesus raised him from the dead. Grateful to be whole and healthy, sure. But part of me also just wants to pretend it didn't happen.
Lazarus' resurrection reveals a truth that transcends events in the written story. Perhaps telling my Corona story can help dispel some of the denial, fear and shame this virus seems to trigger.
First: Dealing with denial. I can personally testify that the threat to health and well-being is valid. Though we were both confident our stay-at-home precautions had protected us, I most likely contracted the virus by removing my mask when I reconnected with a friend shortly after Illinois began to re-open. In this time of hit-and-miss advisories, it's important we all stay vigilant with masks, distancing and isolating when appropriate.
Second: Casting out fear. For me, fever, cough, chills, and body aches arose overnight and abated four days later. I never had difficulty breathing. I didn't need to see a doctor or be hospitalized. Still, my fear ran amok. At one point I crawled out of bed to dig out a copy of my will so my family could find it easily. The emotional, psychic and energetic suffering lingered long after the physical symptoms had resolved. Fear not. While symptoms are serious and need close watching, this virus is not inevitably fatal for everyone.
Third: Overcoming shame and guilt. With so much at stake, I sense we're creating a stigma to testing positive. Making calls to inform those who might be exposed in the three to five days between contracting and onset of symptoms is embarrassing; much harder than I imagined. But experts say those calls are critical to containing outbreaks -- especially since testing and contact tracing are lagging so far behind the spread. "Shame cannot survive being spoken," Brene Brown writes (in this case to me and fellow sufferers). "...and being met with empathy" (to those told they may have been exposed). The spiritual equivalent is bringing light to darkness.
It's true: We are the light. How brightly we shine is up to us.