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What are we sacrificing?

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I have spent much of this week thinking of and praying for my step-mom, Betty.  She works in an assisted living/nursing facility.  Despite all the precautions that have been in place since March, the facility is now experiencing an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

two adult women beside each other

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This facility has been basically on lock-down for the last three months.  No visitors. Outside packages are sanitized. Outside food is transferred to a different container before delivered to the residents. Employees have used PPE and had temperature checks when reporting to work.  When the outbreak was identified, hallways were shut down and the only employees allowed to the residents’ rooms are the nurses and CNAs.  This means that Betty can no longer visit people with whom she has built relationships as she is part of the food service for the facility.  It means residents can’t visit with each other. It means that the only people the residents now see are those who are administering medicine or assisting them with perhaps something uncomfortable or embarrassing.

It means that Betty may not get to say goodbye to those residents for which she has such great love and compassion.  She has said that one day a resident is alive and the next, when she gets to work, he/she is gone.

I cannot fathom what this is like for her.  But I also cannot fathom what this is like for the residents.  I have thought throughout this pandemic that we may be doing a harm to our elderly citizens.  It is no secret that assisted living/nursing facilities have a level of isolation to them already. Many residents do not have regular visitors except those who bring them their meals.  And now, they are denied even that.

My heart breaks for this situation.  I question the wisdom of the decisions that are in place to “protect our most vulnerable”. What good is this protection if it only serves to further isolate some of our most valuable citizens? And in this particular situation, it didn’t make a difference.  All that isolation and mitigation didn’t stop the virus from getting in the facility and doing what it does.

I am, in no way, proposing we throw all caution to the wind.  I do not think we should be unwise in our interactions with any member of society, much less anyone who is deemed part of the vulnerable population.  But I do think, perhaps, it’s time to re-evaluate some of the precautions that are in place.

Mental health cannot take a back seat to physical health. They are equal. And I would even propose that the healthier a person is mentally, their physical health is better.

I have struggled this entire time with the idea that family members can’t visit those in assisted living facilities or be with someone who is in the hospital.  I feel that in traumatic events it is necessary to have someone who is there with you.  I don’t want to imagine what it would have been like when I broke my leg if Steven hadn’t been there to help me navigate through the haze of pain and drugs.

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If masks do the job we’re told they do, then why can there not be a designated member of the family who is able to be there for loved ones in these situations–both hospitalized and in nursing homes? 

We are sacrificing compassion.

In an effort to protect the vulnerable we are forgetting what they truly need…what we all truly need.

People.

{I don’t generally like to put disclaimers on my pieces, but I am today. Please understand that I am fully aware of the seriousness of this virus. I am also aware that we learn about it every day. My prayer is that we somehow find a balance of how to live with it while answering our God instilled need to be with each other in the physical present.}

God’s Gift: Compassion

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Day 18 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: Jonah 3:1-4:4, 11

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Jakob Steinhardt, Jonah Preaches in Nineveh, 1923, hand-colored woodcut

Jonah’s repentance while in the great fish is the part of the story that is well known.

But it’s what comes after that reveals the character of God and His next gift.

The Ninevites repent–up to the king on the throne down to the domestic animals.  They are not Israelites, and so Jonah bemoans God’s compassion towards them. They aren’t the “right” people.

But our God rebukes Jonah.  He claims the Ninevites and all the beasts.  His compassion is not for a select few, but for all His created.

Thoughts for today:

Have you ever passed judgement because someone wasn’t the “right” group?

What do you feel God is saying to you now about that action?

How can you be intentional about avoiding such behavior in the future?

God knows that we are weak.  We often focus too much on the outward, the perception, while He knows all.  May we work towards being more like Him and consider all possibilities in deciding our actions.