Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 10 months…the global pandemic has resulted in inequitable panic, concern, and impulsive reactions among government officials and the ‘health care’ community. The reactions and fear have not been unfounded. Millions worldwide have been impacted and many have died as a direct result of the COVID-19 virus or from complications involving other ailments and conditions.
The key for the Church is to become uncomfortable with the fact that too many have died separated from families and loved ones. In the best circumstances there has been virtual visits and phone conversations. I have read numerous posts and been part of conversations among clergy and families that simply object to the separation. The objections range from selfishness, entitlement, and mistrust of doctors on the surface to blaming decision-makers; from presidents and governors and lawyers on the extreme.
The continuum of care, in a non-pandemic, has at best been loosely applied – especially when it comes to the medical community. During a pandemic it has become painfully clear that the continuum of care has been completely severed and in many ways it will never recover. Simply, the continuum of care for a human being involves the spiritual, emotional (mental health), and physical needs of the individual. I need to state unequivocally – that this continuum of care extends to both the patient AND the caregiver(s).
This tragic moment in the history of humankind presents opportunity to set in motion steps to make sure we get it right in the future. Pandemics will occur, it is part of life. The opportunity at this moment is not to work to re-create the old normal, but to transform the present into a better place that care-fully responds to the needs of one another.
This will be difficult – similar to the long and intricate process to re-attach a severed limb. Yet we are called to seek an integration of the full continuum of care within communities, churches, hospitals, and government institutions. The re-attaching needs to begin now – before the limb (the ideal continuum of care) is no longer viable.
Think about how painful it is someone sitting in their car in a parking lot while your spouse or child is in the emergency room – imagine how exhausting physically and emotionally it is hour upon hour. Then add to that the fact that ER staff assured you they would call to keep you informed…but then they don’t – for hours. Then through your impatience you call to check on your loved one – only to be told I will let the nurse know you called. This instance, repeated thousands of times every day, is a breach in the acceptable continuum of care.
Human tendency leans toward righteous anger and blame, combined with mistrust of strangers caring for your loved one, and the shear fear of the worst care scenario coming true. Within a functional and transparent continuum of care, an equal burden of all involved exists.
Where do we begin? We seek truth and that begins with an understanding that sin and evil exist and are working overtime to create ever-lasting chasms of hate between people, their institutions and governments.
To confront this evil, people of faith need assurances – which we find in Holy Scripture. There we draw upon the Word of God to defend us in the spiritual war we face. Jesus says – on his last physical human day on earth – to His disciples: ‘I will be with you always’ (Matthew 28:20). Believing and living these Words invokes the presence of the One we need at crucial moments in our lives; when death threatens us and our loved ones. In addition, Jesus’ Words are fully and unmistakably – PROMISE. Thanks Be to God!