June 5, 2020
Earlier this week I sent out a letter detailing our plans for opening the church office on a limited basis as we try to begin to slowly, cautiously, and lovingly come back together. As I said in the letter, before our staff gathered back together in the church offices, we all were going to be tested for the Covid-19 virus. Everyone has now been tested.
Yesterday, I received the results of my test and it was “positive.” The actual results were “Detected, low viral load.” As I understand it, this means I am towards the end of my infection and I was told that, at this point, I am probably NOT contagious. Nevertheless, I am going to quarantine at home before I get retested next week. I am grateful that I have had no symptoms and am feeling fine. Yesterday I had a four-mile run (very slow, but that is my pace at this stage of my life!) and will have a long walk this afternoon.
There really is no way of knowing how and when I was infected with the virus. Because of the “low viral load,” however, I apparently have had the virus for a time. As one who now is “infected” you all can say with certainty, you know someone who has the virus. Though I am without symptoms, this strange, mysterious, but deadly disease is real. Though I am without symptoms, I could still infect you! The thought that I could unknowingly hurt, harm or possibly cause the death of one of you, my beloved people of Good Shepherd, is terrifying to me. If I was to infect anyone due to my ignorance, carelessness or inattention, I believe I would carry the weight and burden of that action for a long time.
I suspect that many of you, like me, are infected, and do not know it. Nevertheless, those who are infected can and do spread the illness. And they can and do spread it to those who will be symptomatic, who do get ill and who do, sometimes die, as over 100,000 of our fellow Americans have died. As your priest, pastor, shepherd and friend, I want to urge you all – out of love for each other – to take seriously and follow all the recommended guidelines for prevention of the spreading of this virus. Remember, we do all these things, not just to protect ourselves. But as children of God, we take these precautions because we are called to love our neighbor.
So, please, my dear people of Good Shepherd, let us love one another as Christ Jesus loves us. Be well, take care of each other, and be filled with Christ’s peace.
Know that I miss and love you,
June 12, 2020
Dear People of Good Shepherd,
Thank you so much for all your prayers, notes and well wishes I have received over the last week. I am so very grateful for everything and deeply touched. Quite honestly, I can’t begin to tell you how very fortunate, lucky and blessed I feel since I never had any symptoms of the virus.
As I said last week, I was tested only because I thought all staff members should be before the church office was re-opened. Of course, I never expected to positive for the virus. As I said last week, therein lies one of the most dangerous aspects of the virus. Any of us could be a carrier and be completely unaware of it. If that were the case, how dangerous might we be to those we love? Please, take this virus seriously, wash your hands, wear a mask when your are around others, and please practice safe social distancing.
And so, in that sense I am glad I found out I was positive so I could isolate myself and quarantine. I am excited to tell you that on Wednesday, I was retested and am now negative, no virus is detected in me. Moreover, Terry received her 2nd negative test, confirming that she has not been infected.
In order to comply with the health guidelines, I will continue to quarantine until Saturday and will return to worshiping for our online Sunday service in the church sanctuary. Again, I am deeply grateful for your prayers and concern. Please know you are in my prayers as well.
Grace and peace,