I am tired of this pandemic: wearing masks, isolating, the unknown of when or if it will ever end. As a teacher, I have classrooms of students who have never seen my smile because they have never seen me without a mask. There are days where I am so discouraged that I cry out of frustration. COVID living has been hard on every one of us, each of us in varying ways and intensities. While it is hard on all of us, the group I am most concerned about today are those individuals who are still growing and developing, who are still figuring out how this world works and how they fit into it. This group is high-risk in a different way than the over-65 age group. This group is our children.
I am not a trained expert on youth development or mental health, but I do have 16+ years of being a parent on my resume, and I do not like what I see happening to this next generation. I can’t help but think of 2020 as a win for Satan. While Christ has the ultimate victory (1 Corinthians 15:57), Satan is still out there searching for prey (1 Peter 5:8). He has had an easy time finding victims this past year, and I’m tired of it.
I and my family take COVIID seriously. We wear masks and practice social distancing. We have avoided situations that we deemed risky. As soon as a vaccine is available to us, we will all take it. I watched my 75 and 76 year old parents fight the virus for weeks before they beat it. I understand the virus is real, but Satan is real, too.
And while the world isolated in fear of this virus, one of my children developed depression and is now going through counseling and taking an antidepressant. For months, time together in person was minimized and the time spent on technology was maximized, whether for entertainment, or school, or worship. Healthy relationships were replaced with virtual ones. Interactive classes were replaced with passive learning. Virtual living is no substitute for being face to face with others. The apostle John recognized this in 2 John 1:12 when he wrote
“Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.”
During these months of no hugs or fellowships, of smiles being hidden behind masks, we have missed part of what it means to be human. And as this drags on for months with no end in sight, the lasting effects on our children are yet to be fully seen. And this mother is tired of it. I have fought and will continue to fight for the overall health and well-being of my children – spiritual, physical, and mental. But right now, I’m exhausted.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said well “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
Today, I acknowledge that the future health of my children is more important than fear. I don’t want to get sick with COVID or unintentionally make someone else sick, but I also don’t want to ignore spiritual sickness and its lasting effects.
Each of us has our own set of circumstances and people to consider, but as for me and my house, I am done letting this pandemic change who we are. We will continue to be smart about the virus, but we will LIVE. We will not stagnate while we wait for this pandemic to end. We will fight (1 Timothy 6:12). We will walk wisely (Ephesians 5:5-16). We will trust the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). We choose to LIVE.
by Susan Ling