Love in the Time of Coronavirus

This week the hospital where I work started re-deploying many of its staff to help address changing needs during the current coronavirus outbreak. Instead of ministering to people in my usual physical therapy job, my new task is administering a thermometer, taking the temperature of each person who walks through the employee entrance, from 5 AM until noon. Whether placing me in this role (and so early in the day!) was Divine intent or merely comic relief, I don’t know, but I’m content with what I’m doing. It’s a simple and somewhat mechanical job—scanning people’s foreheads, one by one, while keeping vigilant about sterile technique. But I want to share with you all how it makes me feel and how it wakes me up—makes me more aware of our connection to the Spirit.

I could see my role as a kind of “Checkpoint Charlie,” keeping the infected folks away from the healthy ones. Very important and sad at the same time. There is a fearful power in my thermometer, with the potential for producing both dread and relief. With the authority invested in me by Mercy Health, I stand guard at this passage with the sternness of the old wizard, Gandalf the Grey. To those who would otherwise rush hastily by, I say: “You shall not pass!”

So, while I honor the necessary fierceness of my new ministry, I also find in it an unexpected blessing as well. To be greeting all of these people, my friends and co-workers, God’s children, at the back door of our hospital home, gives me such a spiritual kick. It really does! All I can say is: God bless them! Bless all of them moving past me on this medical conveyor belt, with their hands gripping their coffee cups, their minds so occupied, their hearts so full of the prayers, hopes, and sufferings of the day. Such a wonder and privilege to see them—their beautiful faces—and to reflect back, through my own imperfect face and manner, the love I know God intends for each and every one of them.

This is how I see and pray for each of them. And this is how I pray for myself and for the whole world during this excruciatingly sacred time of coronavirus. Please, take good care of yourselves and of one another. Amen.

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13 Comments

  1. Nancy | | Reply

    Thanks Ray, i enjoyed that!

    • Ray Geers | | Reply

      Miss seeing you Nancy! Take care during this pandemic.

  2. Michael Brunner | | Reply

    Ray, this is a great message and very inspiring! Keep up the great work and enjoy the spiritual growth and sharing of love and faith!

    • Ray Geers | | Reply

      Thanks Michael! Thanks for reading it. Hope you’re managing well working at home and schooling your kids as well!

  3. heidi bright | | Reply

    You are beautifully positioned to bring laughter and joy into a frightening situation. Well-placed!

    • Ray Geers | | Reply

      Hi Heidi! I imagine we are all well-placed indeed! Waking up to this has been a treat. Thanks for your comment. And thanks for your article about resilience in this unprecedented time. Peace.

  4. Jeff Arnold | | Reply

    I love “excruciatingly sacred.”

  5. Ray Geers | | Reply

    Hi Jeff!
    Yes, this somewhat abrupt change in our lives is both excruciating to me and sacred. Kairos time is ascending over our notion of Chronos time. Kairos is opportune time, quality time, pointing to the eternal. Chronos is measured, sequential, everyday time. There is opportunity for a change in consciousness here during this world wide pandemic. Moving into a new sense of time, and responding to the grace being offered, was one of my initial thoughts in writing it and almost became the part of the title for the piece. But love is at the center of this intersection. My very insightful editor, Sabrina, suggested the new title to me: Love in the Time of Coronavirus.

  6. Michael Ramos | | Reply

    It’s nice to hear a human response to how you’re affected by this public health crisis during this time of face to face social disconnection, and when our minds are inundated with public health information and guidance from healthcare and political leaders, journalists, and the ongoing conversation from experts in the media.

  7. Ray Geers | | Reply

    Hi Michael!
    Yes, I think we all have a particular viewpoint worth sharing about the impact of this crisis on our lives and on our personal and communal concerns. I appreciate, for example, your brief analysis of our everyday situation with the seeming avalanche of information to the point where we seem to loose what you call a human response. Well noted. Thanks!

  8. Kathleen Busemeyer | | Reply

    Ray, I appreciate your sacred and meditative approach to your new duties. I couldn’t think of a better person to truly see and potentially lift up those coming in to work “on the front lines” of this virus. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ray Geers | | Reply

    Thanks for being there to share with Kathleen! Not only did you take the time to read, but you reflected back to let me know how it affected you. Our blessings are ricochetting back and forth!
    Please take care of yourself and that husband of yours. Peace… Amen.

  10. Ray Geers | | Reply

    I wrote a poem related to “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” on the day before Easter.

    In This Season of COVID 
    April 12,Good Friday 2020

    Heart cries within and sadness
    Mixed with longing and fond hopes
    Of recovery singe the soul as I
    Begin this day numbered whatever
    In this season of COVID 

    Heart cries within and it feels
    Like feeling has the upper hand
    In this place of pause between
    Suffering and celebration
    In this season of COVID

    Heart cries and cries
    But the tears as yet are dry
    Above the mask and you
    Cannot read my lips in
    This season of COVID

    Heart cries, yes, and can
    Find no perfect rest in Easter
    Spring or hopes confessed
    Yet it feels so sorely blessed
    In this season of COVID

    Also, on a more upbeat note, I wrote about taking temperature checks.

    Temp Checks
    April 3, 2020

    Through the Covid checkpoint
    These people pass me and
    I smile at all their faces
     
    The light of life is hidden 
    in each- some knowing
    others not yet knowing
     
    And I think to myself:
    God!
    How good you are to me!

    And, finally, this end to a prayer on March 31, 2020

    Bless us all in your various splendor-ed ways, and bend all our intentions toward your light, healing and trimming our human weakness as necessary, mine included. I pray in your loving name, friend of mine. “Christie Lux  Mundi Salvatore“.  Amen.

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