We prepared ourselves carefully. I tucked the hand sanitizer into my purse in an easily accessible side pocket. Then Keith brought in the last two masks he had. He keeps them on hand for working with pesticides and fertilizers, and when mowing the lawn. Turns out they were N95s, and it was the first time we realized he had bought such good ones. Then he grabbed a glove and a plastic bag because we would need to pick up the mail from our rural box down by the highway when we drove back in.
When we arrived at the medical center, we donned our masks—a major ordeal for me since I am claustrophobic. Every time that mask commercial comes on TV vaunting its ability to "keep out pollen, bacteria, and dust," I add to myself, "And air." I could feel my pulse rising the moment I put the thing on and Keith stood next to me, rubbing my shoulders while whispering, "You can breathe, you can breathe, you can breathe."
We were met at the door by two masked nurses who bombarded us with questions, none of which my 90 % deaf husband could hear because their lips were covered and he had nothing to "read." Seems no one ever thought about that problem before. Finally they took our temperatures and sent me on to the front desk to stand on a black X, well over the required six feet away from the woman who registered me, so that we had to practically yell my information at one another to accomplish the deed. So much for patient privacy.
And so it continued at every phase until we finally arrived back home five hours later to wash up and sanitize once again.
That's when it came to me. We really do not understand the meaning of the prefix "pan." I just looked it up to be perfectly sure. "Involving all members of a group," I found. We are being so very careful—staying home, wearing masks, standing six feet apart or behind sneeze guards when necessary to be together at all, perpetually washing hands, pouring out hand sanitizer like water, some greedily hoarding staples from their neighbors. I wonder what would happen if we were that careful about the only true pandemic there is—the one that effects every single person on the planet, not just a relatively small percentage—SIN.
What might happen if we spread the news about its contagion and the truly exorbitant fatality percentage? What would happen if we isolated ourselves from anything that even bordered on it, anyone who carelessly sneezed it on us or our children? Would we anxiously read up on it (in our Bibles), memorize the symptoms, and tell anyone who would listen what we had discovered? Would we be as willing to hurt ourselves economically and socially to avoid a spiritual virus as we have these past few months to avoid a physical one?
And what does the answer to those questions tell us about the state of our souls? Even as the effects of this physical virus begin to wane ever so slightly, understand this: That spiritual virus has been around far longer and has claimed the souls of the vast majority of people who have ever lived on this earth. Now THAT'S a pandemic.
What will you do about that today? Aren't you even a little bit frightened?
…For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:22-23).