“I’m excited,” I said, surprised to feel the flutter of my heart.
“Me too,” my husband admitted with a grin.
Our car inched forward in the line, not nearly as slowly as the drive-thru Christmas light display in Duluth last December. But then, this time we had an appointment—an appointment we had waited months for—our first dose of the Moderna anti-Covid-19 vaccine.
We registered with the attendant who verified our appointments, then moved forward to sit in the line of cars waiting for our shift. After a few minutes we pulled into the county highway department garage where an educator made sure we understood the specifics and a nurse gave us the injections—all without our ever leaving our car.
It’s not as though we have been living in fear. We just take the recommended precautions—wash hands, wear masks, avoid crowds and indoor gatherings with people outside our immediate household. (Okay, so we stretched that last one a bit with our kids who were being equally cautious or more so, but even those get-togethers were mostly masked or outdoors.)
Frankly, I have enjoyed the relaxed schedule, not having to be here or there for this event or that. I’ve enjoyed wearing less make up and putting on stretch pants every morning. My hair likes that I haven’t had a perm in months. I still go to my office over the garage every morning. Most of my work is at my computer anyway. But I have missed getting together in person with my writers’ groups. Zoom or Facebook livestream is not the same. I have missed worshipping as a full body at church and especially those quarterly pot-luck dinners before the business meeting.
When all the cars in our shift were finished, we were directed outside to wait in lanes for fifteen minutes. An ambulance was available in case of allergic reaction. "Just blow your horn and the young ones'll come running," the medic assured us. "I'll be a little slower."
Today’s vaccination does not mean “getting back to normal,” but it is perhaps the beginning of the end of this crazy journey. I will continue to wear a mask in public for the foreseeable future, but I will be less uncomfortable if you decide not to. We may even go to a restaurant—inside!—for my husband’s birthday. And we have made plans for a road trip to the Smokey Mountains to take advantage of a particularly good hotel deal.
This has been a year of being stretched in my faith and learning to trust God for whatever comes next. It has felt somewhat like our years in Mozambique in the middle of the civil war, when we lived from day to day, waiting tensely for the next major event to hit us in the face. I was stepping across a stream at Gooseberry Falls State Park last summer when I realized that no matter what happened at the election or with Covid, my heavenly Father would still be in control. His woods and rocks and streams would still be there for my consolation. His hand would not drop me.
My hobby is figure skating. This year without regular access to a rink, my skills have slipped. Considerably. I’m praying that as vaccines make possible a return to something near normal, the faith skills that have developed in these months with my regular need to exercise them, will not slip; that the Bible reading and prayer habits that have been so essential for sanity will not fade when the urgency is past; that I will walk forward with confidence that my faithful God, who brought me through this pandemic, will take me safely into whatever future he has for me.
We are all looking forward to leaving this pandemic behind us, but it will be a waste if we forget the things we have learned. Skaters don’t stop training after the last competition of the season. They work daily to maintain their skills and push them to the next level so next season they will be better. That's what I want for my faith.
Get your vaccine when it’s your turn! Keep training!
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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