“Ok David,” the doctor said as he placed two q-tips in a hazardous materials bag, “We will get back to you in 3-5 days. Best of luck and please stay healthy.”
I looked into his eyes that were covered by an oversized face mask. I wondered what he was thinking. He was face-to-face with a stranger that may have an unknown disease directly at his fingertips. He was kind, confident, and communicative. He had tried to prepare me as best as possible for the fact that he was going to put a q-tip farther up my nose than I ever thought was humanly possible. He asked me multiple times how I was doing.
“Are you nervous?” he asked. “Your blood pressure is on the higher side of normal.”
“I guess,” I replied. “I don’t really know. Probably.”
“I have really bad seasonal allergies,” I continued. “I’ve got a cough and I’ve been really fatigued, but I also just had a whirlwind trip to London. It might just be jet lag and my body trying to figure out where I am right now.”
“I’m glad you’re here,” he replied.
He genuinely meant what he was saying. I could feel the warmth of his care toward me, a complete stranger. I am grateful for him and every single medical worker that I came into contact with last week. I didn’t know what to think. They probably didn’t know what to think, either. But each of them chose to help me feel comfortable in the midst of the uncertainty.
Thank you to every medical worker, period.
Thank you. All of you.
It’s been a long seven days since my test. I didn’t spend the time totally freaking out, but I can tell you that anxiety and fear were at the top of my prayer list. Especially last night. I had done my social distancing part to make sure that I stayed away from everyone except the people that I love the most on this planet.
Dara. Our four kids.
I went to bed last night thinking about the near-impossibility of distancing from Dara and our kids in our 1,800 square foot home. I prayed and gave my anxiety and fear to God, knowing that it is never from him. That certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t feel it, of course.
After praying myself to sleep, I slept like a baby. I am so grateful for God’s peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4). I needed it, and I felt that peace last night.
I got the results a few hours ago. Without even saying a word to Dara, I walked into the kitchen and gave her an extra-special kiss. She immediately knew. The test was negative.
“Mom,” Max said as he came around the corner, “Are you kissing dad?!” That normally results in some sort of a gag noise accompanied by an eye-roll. This time, however, he walked over with a smile on his face and gave me a bear hug. The rest of the kids ran into the kitchen and hugged me, as well. I was so grateful to be able to kiss my wife and then get hugs from my teen and pre-teen babies.
I am so grateful for the doctors and nurses that I saw that day at Novant Hospital in Matthews. They were strong and courageous, even if I could sense a palpable sense of tension in the room because of all the unknowns. Three of us were in the room. All of us coughing. There were at least a dozen empty seats between us. Everyone knew the rules.
I waited about an hour and a half for my test. When I asked if I could use the restroom, the receptionist looked back at me with genuine uncertainty.
“Can he use the restroom?” she asked one of the nurses. “He’s a potential Covid patient,” she whispered. “You’re going to have to get permission from the charge nurse on that one,” the nurse replied.
It took ten minutes to get an approval. I told them that it was not a big deal and that I would just wait. Another woman came around the corner and said, “Come on, sweetie. Use the bathroom.” She had a genuine smile on her face. She was so kind and my bladder was so thankful.
The same woman was waiting outside the single-stall bathroom when I was done. She had an entire bathroom-cleaning cart next to her. She disinfected the entire bathroom. The same woman that was so kind to me, giving me permission to use the bathroom was the same woman that knew she would have to clean it afterward.
I was genuinely moved by that surreal and brief social interaction.
My doctor recommended that I get tested because of a uniquely busy season of domestic and international travel. Between speaking, consulting, teaching, and traveling to Austin to work with my agent and editors on the layout of my first book, I had been on 12 flights in the past six weeks, including a very quick there-and-back to London.
This was by far the busiest season of travel I have ever had in ministry. I don’t love being away from home, but I genuinely love sharing the message that God has placed on my heart.
And then London. Everything changed thirty minutes after the flight lifted off for London.
I logged on to the airplane wifi and was deluged with information that a travel ban had been instituted and that no one from Europe would be able to come back to America. My wife and kids instantly raced through my mind. I found out soon after that we would not be included in that travel ban.
“Dad!!!” the text from Jack read. “The NBA season was just suspended!!!” It seemed like the whole country began to wake up to how real this was when the NBA announcement came down. And then the NCAA tournament.
“What is going on right now?” I kept thinking.
My head was spinning.
Before takeoff, I knew there were serious issues around the world, but America was yet to be severely impacted (or so I thought). I researched the outbreak in London, as well. It was rather mild (or so I thought). Little did I know that the virus was already very much in our country and very much in the place I was about to land.
I arrived at 9:00am and was on a plane home at 10am the next day. 25 hours in London. All I could think about was not getting stuck an ocean away from my family.
In hindsight, I wouldn’t have taken the trip. The problem with hindsight, though, is you don’t have it in the moment.
I am grateful to get today’s results after all of my travel from the past six weeks. My heart hurts to see our world in such a state of pain, turmoil, and heartache.
We need each other. If ever we have realized how much we need each other, it’s right now.
I will do all that I can to advocate for folks that need help during this season and be a good neighbor to those around me. The challenge of loving others well from a distance is real, but I know it can be done.
My heart is hurting for small business owners and my neighbors that have been working hard to simply make ends meet, only to have another challenge rise up that seems impossible to navigate.
I do know this, though… God knows. The prevailing metaphor for the Church in the scriptures is a body. A bunch of interconnected parts that come together as one body.
We have enough because we have each other.
We’re going to have to learn how to share to make it through this. Those that have been blessed with financial resources will be challenged to share like never before. Those that need financial resources will be challenged to humbly reach out and let others know their needs.
If we do this right, we can learn to see each other again. We can learn to love each other well.
We won’t know what to do, but God will. I absolutely know that God knows. Especially when I don’t.
God is with us. He is not confused, no matter how confusing this situation may be right now. I’m trying to do my part to stay up on the latest practical realities, but also to break away and just spend quiet time with Jesus.
I desperately need my life centered on Jesus right now.
Thank you to all of our dear friends and family that are first responders, nurses, military, and everyone else that cannot choose to distance themselves from this horrific disease. I am praying for God to show himself to be real and true to all of us during the uncertainty of these days. And I am genuinely, daily praying for your protection as you courageously wake up and do your part every day.
I will do my part and stay home. I’m a people person, but I’m staying home. I don’t love Zoom/Google Hangout/FaceTime as much as I love being with my family and friends. But I love my family and friends enough to just simply do my part. Even if that is as simple as staying home.
Immanuel, God with us. I have never believed that more than today. To everyone dealing with this horrible disease, God is with you. To everyone grieving the loss of a loved one, God is with you. I do not know why horrible things happen, but I am certain that God is with you. Immanuel, God is with us.
Lots of love from the Docusens.