What’s been your worst personal moment during COVID? I have had many and I thought I’d share a recent one with you. A part of me is cautious about opening this part of me to you, but I thought it might help you know that you’re not alone.
I’m a pastor of a local church. In November and December of 2021, we had really regained our footing as a church. Our worship services were filling up again. New people were checking us out. Wednesday night dinners were back to capacity and I could soon envision us relaxing our COIVD protocols. I had optimistically pointed to the brightness of 2022 in a sermon. As we approached the New Year, I had even quoted Taylor Swift (to the eye-rolls of my children) that “I’m feeling ’22.”
Then along came Omicron. It was early January of this year. The Omicron variant was raging at this point. Half of our congregation had COVID. Three of our preschool classes had to quarantine. We had just learned that our local public school would be going virtual for the first week of the new year. And I have two elementary aged children. Our worship attendance did a nose dive. We decided to delay the return of Wednesday Night Suppers. I came home that night angry.
I was really angry. Like bad anger. It was dark outside as I pulled into the driveway. Blair and the girls were home already. I parked. The anger was so fierce that I needed to do something dramatic. So I grabbed my keys out of my pocket. I wound my body like a baseball pitcher and I hurled them as hard as I could into the night sky. They slammed against the side of the house. With my follow through I knocked over the metal charcoal starter and it clanged throughout the neighborhood.
I felt better but guilty. I picked up my keys and the plastic electronic key to the Prius was not there.
I walked inside and my daughter was on the couch.
“Dad, what was that noise?”
Blair heard it too and she followed me outside. She instinctively knew. She heard the bang of the keys. Katie comes outside with us.
“Dad, what was that noise?”
I said, “My keys broke.”
Blair steps in, “Sweet girls, it’s time to get ready for bed.”
I followed my daughter inside and poured a tall glass of water and I cooled off for a bit.
I walked back outside and Blair is on her knees using her phone as a flashlight.
I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure it’s smashed. I’m sorry. I’m sure it’s going to cost us $400 to replace.”
“Was it worth it?”
Then she shows me the key. She had pieced it back together.
She said, “Well, I found a piece here and over there, but none of them were cracked.”
(I thought about throwing it again).
She continued, “I just need a little duct tape to hold this little piece together.” She showed me it still worked as she unlocked the door.
I said, “Wow. I’ve lost my touch.”
I went back inside and helped put the kids to bed and kissed them goodnight. I took a shower and put on a clean undershirt. I reached to set the alarm and felt the duct taped Prius key on the night stand. As clean as I had felt from the shower, my heart still felt more like the duct tape.
Saint Augustine once defined sin as a disordered love. He didn’t believe sin was necessarily loving the wrong things. He believed that sin was often loving the right things in the wrong order. And if COVID has your love out of order, give yourself some grace, although I wouldn’t recommend throwing keys.