Well, it happened. Three years after the start of the pandemic, I finally got COVID. I’m the first (and hopefully will remain the only) member of my immediate family to get it, and here on the other side of the fever, chills, body aches, and severe sore throat, I’m kind of grateful. Let me explain.
Since 2020, I’ve been extremely cautious for myself, my family, and those I don’t know. I’ve been flexible where I could, and stricter with myself when it really mattered. In between my boundaries, I’ve been able to do a lot, but there was something different about the start of May. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not surprised that after so long and all my caution, COVID finally got me.
The first two weeks of May were some of the busiest of my life. I was finishing my first semester of teaching college students—in person—and was bogged down with final papers, portfolios, and grades. On top of that, I was dealing with some teacher-related issues that I’d never encountered before and did not know how to handle. Between some problematic attitudes, meltdowns, student stress, and the prospect of failing a student, I was stretched to my limit. Plus, that time of the month was nigh, so between all of that and my fibro, I was in a pretty bad way.
I was busy, I was stressed, and I was extremely run down. My body was not in a good place, and neither was my immune system. But I kept going. I’m pretty sure I got COVID from a work event. I was in a crowded room that wasn’t as ventilated as it could have been, and I didn’t have my mask for about fifteen minutes (which is, apparently, all it took).
My symptoms came on gradually. I spent “Day 0” out and about: at therapy, shopping, and driving around running errands with the slightest tickle in my throat. (Thankfully, I was masked the whole day, so I’m confident the virus stuck with just me). It wasn’t until that night that a sudden fever alerted me that more was wrong. I immediately isolated myself from my family; one positive test later, I was in the thick of it with COVID for the first time ever. Three years in, and COVID was as miserable as I’d always heard.
I felt awful physically, but I was also struggling mentally because I had to be totally alone for ten full days. My spirits were lifted when friends checked in on me, and I FaceTimed with my family even though they were just down the stairs on the other side of my quarantine door. I slept a lot. I watched the entirety of Bluey on Disney+. I read some books and spent a lot of time with the Lord. Once I was feeling better (but not yet in the clear), I allowed myself to actually rest. I didn’t rush back to work. My clients and employers were kind and patient with me. Whenever I did feel tired, I took a nap no matter what time it was. I took it slow, and after the stressful start of the month, it was a time of rest I desperately needed.
If I had my way, I wouldn’t have gotten COVID at all. I worked so hard and for so long not to. While I was sick, I was so scared that I passed it on to my family; I worried about what it would be like if my mild case suddenly became severe. Thankfully, my family is healthy and I’m feeling back to normal, but I’ve learned something, too: if I had my way, I wouldn’t have taken a break and would probably have run myself into the ground. This experience has shown me that in those seasons of go-go-go, rest will eventually come—it’s just a matter of how.
When I felt I couldn’t stop because I had so much to tend to, my body told me it would stop; it swiftly did—and I needed it. Now, this lesson isn’t new to me. I’ve heard countless stories like this about people who kept going and didn’t stop to rest until they ultimately crashed. In my naiveté, I thought I was relaxing and taking care of myself: I was taking naps, I was exercising, I was eating healthy meals, but these bits of self-care don’t amount to Sabbath—and that’s what I needed most. A full stop.
So, maybe you need this reminder, too. Maybe you think you have a handle on how busy you are, but chances are you really don’t. My advice is to take a Sabbath now—a vacation, a nap, a day off—before your body does it for you.
How can you plan a Sabbath and stick to it? What’s at stake if you don’t?Leave a Comment