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Let’s do covid together

Overcoming the vaccine debate with empathy and love.

I look across the room at him and smile. He’s sporting a Wolverine-type look, hair bushy along the jawline, absent on the chin for when he wears a mask to teach math. We’ve been married more than 18 years and we’re like salt and pepper; me with my soft, quiet mannerisms, him with his loud voice that he inherited from his Grandpa Garth, his desire to make people laugh and his opening-wide our front door to let the world in. 

We’ve navigated many waters poorly in life, but the Lord is teaching us, and our three children, to yield. And as we do, as we yield both to Jesus and to each other, we’re finding many common and victorious grounds. 

And one of these grounds is covid. Through it all, in spite of its turbulence, in spite of its divisive edges, in spite of so many unknowns, in spite of countless hours huddled together in minus 40-degree Celsius weather, with restrictions all around us – we’ve sailed as one. 

The rollercoaster

We went through the initial panic together, and then the denial, and then the panic again. We danced our way through those first few months of a world-wide pandemic, in spite of me getting Shingles and my husband being forced to work from home and our kids all navigating online schooling – we purchased onesie pajamas, made a board-games list, and hunkered down. 

Then we went through the joy of camping together – of finally being able to go “out” and the elation of being outdoors without masks, without worry – but still, nervous around other people, still nervous about covid, still the unknowns. 

But we leaned deeper into the Word together, fasted together, memorized Scripture, together, and then – the wondrous day when school started again, in person, and the purchasing of many buffs and the checking off of lists each morning and the agonizing over should we send them to school if their nose is a bit runny? 

Yet we did it, together. We re-entered church again, as a family. Online church was fine for a while, singing each Sunday in our living room, but we knew we were missing something greater and we longed for it together, and we rejoiced when the doors reopened. 

And we began to do outreaches together – dropping off gift bags, all around town, giving out Bibles, seeing the desperation etched on people’s faces, knowing we needed to throw them a rope.

There’s always a bigger picture

We got the vaccines together, and even though we had extended family members disagreeing, we never lost sight of the bigger picture – that there’s always a bigger picture with God. At the end of the day, he is always watching to see who is still loving one another. So we aimed to love – no matter where anyone sat on the vaccine issue, we loved them, we opened wide our doors, and we vaccinated. 

Then we went through apathy together, too, and a bit of anger and confusion when friends began to be forced to get the shot, and other friends were losing jobs because they didn’t get the shot, and we started to pray more fervently and to search Scriptures with more ardor. We watched a Revelation series, together. We wrote the government. I drank wine with friends who occasionally sport a “tin hat,” and my husband played sports with a team of men who were unvaccinated and they couldn’t believe he’d never had covid and they laughed about it, together.

We ended up getting booster shots, and our kids got the shots, and yet, in spite of Omicron, we still had my sister and her family up for Christmas – though they weren’t vaccinated, but would have been alone otherwise, because it’s about doing life, together. It’s about persevering, gripping hands, across the miles, through the Zoom calls, in spite of inconveniences, in spite of unknowns – we do it, together. 

Friends, as the family of Christ, we are one. We are in this together. Let’s never forget that.

Author

  • Emily Wierenga is a wife and mother who is passionate about the church and lives in northern Alberta. She is the author of the memoirs Atlas Girl and Making it Home (Baker Books), and the founder of a non-profit working in Africa and Asia.

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