I hope you are all safe and well upon reading this. Right now I realize is a time of much uncertainty in the world with regard to the recently named pandemic COVID-19 or coronavirus. I think it’s very easy when faced with the unknown to feel anxious, scared, or even depressed. I, for one, tend to not handle uncertainty well (I plan things out far in advance and am guilty of already considering vacations for 2022, so “uncertainty” isn’t really a happy word in my vocabulary). As you can imagine, the outbreak of COVID-19 doesn’t make me feel all that warm and fuzzy inside and I can’t imagine it does for much of anyone else either.
Over the past week, I’ve worked from home due to COVID-19 and I expect to do the same in the coming days too (I was done with being ‘okay’ with this around Wednesday – I miss my office and co-workers!). I think it’s made worse by the fact that while it’s one thing to choose to do that, being told to do that has a whole other impact on you. You miss things more and long for your normal routine.
Working From Home
The impact of not having church activities during COVID-19 to my surprise did affect me. I tend to be a ‘casual’ attendee of church activities outside of church services themselves – getting to them when I can. But suddenly not having the opportunity to go to any, not being able to see anybody, left me feeling very isolated and alone, even with my roommate at home. I thought back to when I used to live overseas and meeting with friends wasn’t always an easy option, wondering if there were things I did back then to stem the tide of loneliness, but again, I think it was a different kind of loneliness that I would occasionally experience while there, because it was one I chose – it’s one that I had a say in. I always had the option of going to see people if I wanted to…
Anyway, the reason I say all of this isn’t to complain or put out there some ‘oh woe is me’ sob story. I’m not alone with these feelings. I know there are thousands of people out there self-isolating right now. All doing so in attempts to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. All are likely dealing with the same stresses that come with this ‘quarantine’ lifestyle. Worse yet, there are those infected with the virus, who are likely scared, anxious, and of course, sick. I can’t imagine what that must be like, though I suspect as the virus spreads, I’ll have a better idea as it impacts more people that I know….
So what is my reason for going into this? Why bring up all of these feelings of anxiety and isolation? Because I wanted to share with you all what GOT RID of them for me today. Yesterday morning, my roommate and I had two elders from church come over to our house to administer the Sacrament. We spoke for a few minutes, maybe 10 or so, and all seemed to be normal, or as normal as it could be. Then we all got down, they broke the bread, and began to bless it.
IMMEDIATELY, I felt a rush of the Lord’s spirit wash over me, like a wave of relief. I received peace. During the Sacrament, we normally pray for forgiveness for our sins and ponder over the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives. But this time, a feeling of overwhelming gratitude for my Savior struck me. I knew immediately that yes, He was watching over the world and providing support for those in the most dire need right now. He was also aware of me, my seemingly little worries, and my little fears and wanted to comfort me. So to do so, He sent two wonderful elders to give me and my roommate the Sacrament. It probably didn’t seem like ‘much’, but it meant so much to me.
After they left, I said to my roommate, “I don’t know about you, but as soon as they started to pray, I felt the spirit rush into the room.”
She replied, “Yeah, I felt it too.”
Stay close to the Lord. He loves you. I know He does. He is aware of you and your heartache, even during this COVID-19 pandemic. He wants to support you and help you, your family and friends always. President Nelson has elaborated on how when we are weak and fearful that we can rely on our Savior. As we let the Lord help us, He will make the difference.
Trust in God
I know all of this to be true. Elder Holland once said in my favorite talk of all time,
“In striving for some peace and understanding in these difficult matters, it is crucial to remember that we are living—and chose to live—in a fallen world where for divine purposes our pursuit of godliness will be tested and tried again and again. Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer. Who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came. It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive…
“Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example. If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead…
“Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter.” (“Like A Broken Vessel”)
I add my testimony to President Nelson’s and Elder Holland’s. Christ gave His life for us because He loved us. Two-thousand years since is not enough and no time will ever be enough, for Him to ever forget us. Trust in Him. As our prophet President Nelson has been urging us, “Hear Him”. Open your heart to Him. Peace, comfort, and hope in happier days to come will be your reward. Don’t give up, Brothers and Sisters. He is here for you. And, to the best that I can be, so am I. I love you all dearly and I know we will all get through this together.