When Hope Is Gone

Back at the precipice of the pandemic, I was listening to a traditional conservative (re: not Trumpist) podcast that was talking about predictions for the future with COVID. “It’s going to get bad,” the guest said. “When this is all said and done, you will know someone who died from this or know someone who lost a loved one to it.” That stopped me in my tracks. What a bold statement to say out loud. Was this fear mongering? Or was this a dire warning?

Those words have been rolling around in my head for the past few months. My husband keeps saying things that sound absurd, but then they happen a few weeks later. “This winter is going to be a difficult one and the time to prepare is now,” he says every time the pandemic comes up in conversation. I’ll spare you the details of his predictions. I hope he’s wrong and it is nothing but the post-apocalyptic fiction he reads seeping into his stream of consciousness. But at the rate of infection, I don’t know.

I have zero faith about all of this. I’m so jealous of my loved ones who do.

If I could redo college, I would be an English major and never set foot in the medical field. Why? Because medical training takes away all your hope.

All of it.

Ignorance is bliss.

And I wish I had it.

If I didn’t know the theory behind my infertility, I’d have so much faith in God, so much hope. But because I know how they came to the conclusion, all hope was lost in a pathology report. I knew how the deck was stacked.

I’m envious of patients who believed they could cure cancer with herbal tea. I’m not God, I’m just the faceless entity compiling reports on the cellular level. The sad truth is lemon balm won’t fix it. I can’t share in their hope – but I certainly would if I wasn’t medically trained.

Miracles are not a default setting.

I’ve found the same to be true with COVID.

This virus doesn’t care about your personal convictions. Epidemiology doesn’t change because you’re bored with protocols. That is why it keeps spreading.

I wish I had the faith of my father – a retired engineer and pro-life Catholic – who’s currently on a 1200 mile bicycle ride, staying in a new town every night for a few weeks. He took a mask with him. He’s not worried. I expressed my concern and he turned off his hearing aids.

If only I had the intestinal fortitude of friends who don’t think twice about hanging out with other friends. It’s not that bad, they tell me. I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. They’re taking “precautions,” but none of those precautions include social distancing or masks. Meanwhile, I’m a broach away from becoming that cat lady.

I would love to have the carefree life of church folk here: pictures of my pastor hanging out with other clergy without social distancing or masks. Friends who would gather to worship in South Carolina when churches were “closed” here. Many friends still attend church events. My heart aches.

I’m jealous my Chicagoian sister goes out to brunch with her friends. Never mind she is a medical provider with known COVID patients. I know better than to call her out. She should know better.

I’m envious of a friend’s mom on social media, who believes COVID is nothing but a democratic tool (she has websites and proof, y’all) and that Mr. Trump’s God-breathed leadership has basically defeated it. She doesn’t need a mask, she is a free American Christian. I admire her dedication. I admire her faith in a man who spent his life buying and selling skyscrapers who clearly has way more knowledge about the subject than any virologist with doctorate degree.

Again, my medical background becomes a weight, like an anchor, that I drag around with me. It slows me down and becomes cumbersome. My last tattoo was an anchor. I didn’t expect it to become to this symbolic, but here I am.

My husband said this and I took it to heart:

“I can’t change anyone’s actions, I can only control me. And so I say nothing. If I am asked, I will give an honest opinion, but they never ask. They will live their life as they see fit and I can’t do anything about it.”

And so I continue what I’ve always done when someone’s faith or lifestyle contradicts the medical facts: I nod. I smile. I keep my mouth shut.

God, after all, has the final word. I’ll let Him do the talking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s