Breakthrough - Monday Musing, July 26, 2021
Breakthrough. Sudden, dramatic, and important discoveries or developments are said to be a breakthrough. The word is currently trending in the context of COVID-19. “Breakthrough infections” – or infections in people who are fully vaccinated – can and are happening. In fact, positive cases, mostly in vaccinated people, have been reported in the news on Cape Cod this past week. Unfortunately, this is one of those news stories that hits close to home – Mark was among those who tested positive for COVID.
Many of us are exhausted from the coronavirus pandemic. Once vaccinations started widely happening, we all let out a collective sigh of relief, the worst was behind us. Our government leaders relaxed restrictions; we were told to return to our normal activities. We all did our part: stayed home for a time, masked when required, socially distanced from one another, got vaccinated, and we thought we were finally safe. Vaccinations, we were told, are the best and most effective way of protecting ourselves from COVID-19; then all of a sudden, breakthrough infections are in the news, and in my case in the house!
Fortunately, Mark’s symptoms were mild; he isolated the required ten days and has returned to good health. We were never afraid of a scary respiratory outcome; he did not suffer debilitating symptoms. If anything, his being vaccinated is credited for the positive outcome. On the other hand, those who are unvaccinated and contract the virus are not as lucky. For Mark, it was mostly just an inconvenience being confined to one room of the house with meals delivered to a closed door.
Why did Mark contract the virus and I didn’t? Why do some people suffer illness and others don’t? – that question is as old as our faith. God does not cause human suffering. God is Spirit, infinite love and energy, abiding presence, and endless mystery. More still, God works in and through us to mitigate human suffering and bring healing and wholeness. God didn’t cause the coronavirus that has brought such catastrophic death and suffering, some mutation did.
Facing illness, disease, and viruses gives us the opportunity to confront our fears of the unknown and to trust in the mystery that is our faith. Such self-examinations are never easy, and one’s personal journey cannot be compared to another. For people of faith, a breakthrough is the realization that despite the challenges we all face in our lives, God is ever-present with us. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
We are thankful for the prayers and kindness expressed to us once word spread of Mark’s diagnosis. This was not the two-week vacation we had planned. But it has given us the opportunity to reflect on the many blessings we have in this life, how fortunate we are compared to others. And our breakthrough confirmed our faith in a God who walks with us through all we face. May you experience this same breakthrough as well, sans a COVID diagnosis. See you in church!