Once again, love has stepped in and made its presence known in my life.
I don’t live in the community where I work, so I don’t always necessarily feel like I’m completely a part of it. And while I feel connected to the city where I live, it’s such a big city that I don’t truly feel a complete sense of community there, either. What I’ve been reminded of recently, though, is that a true community doesn’t have to pertain to a place by any means.
I guess that it was bound to happen at some point, but I have covid. I went to an urgent care clinic last week because I had a really bad sore throat, and the nurse practitioner told me that I had allergies or a cold and assured me that I didn’t have anything else. I just kept getting worse, though, and was struggling to go running without getting winded before even hitting my first mile. I decided to go to the doctor on Friday, and she told me the last thing I wanted to hear: my COVID-19 test was positive. Yes, I was vaccinated. No, I don’t know exactly where I got it.
I’m not going to lie—this thing is miserable. I almost went to the hospital on Sunday but called and spoke to a nurse on the patient advisory nurse hotline, and she helped me quite a bit. Apparently, it’s OK if you can’t breathe well—you only need to go to the ER if you’re gasping for air and can only get out one word at a time. I know that it’s different for everyone, but for me, it feels like a combination of the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, and mono all at once. I’m tired essentially all of the time, and my appearance is a direct reflection of that. I can’t take deep breaths, my chest hurts, I have a never-ending headache and nasty cough, I’m super congested, and my mind is foggy. I’m pretty sure that I have plenty of other symptoms, but please read my previous statement about my mind being foggy.
But the physical ailments are the least of my concerns.
The worst part of having COVID-19 is having to isolate. I love people. I love my job. I love my family more than anything on the earth. Not being able to go to my niece Olivia’s soccer game on Saturday was a dagger straight through my heart. Not having Evie run to me yelling “NAT!!!” and Anna run to me to spin her around and not being able to snuggle little Norah cut me to the core. I miss my students. I miss my work family. I miss being in the school building.
I love helping people. It fuels me to be able to do something for someone else. Oddly enough, though, I don’t like people helping me. I tend to think that I need to be able to do everything on my own. However, I have been truly touched with how much help people have been willing to offer in the last few days. As I mentioned, I don’t live where I work. In fact, I live about 40 miles away. Most of my coworkers live up there, and I’ve lost count of how many of them have not hesitated to ask me what I need. They’ve offered to drive out to where I live and make porch deliveries, and I know with all of my heart that they mean it.
And that’s community.
I may not accept any of their offers, but knowing that you have people who care about you and who would do anything for you is a beautiful thing. It’s the immediate “what do you need?” and “I can drop off soup or meds—just say the word” and the “you text me, and I’ll be there in a heartbeat” and the unexpected Tiff’s Treats that show up on the doorstep and the “I’d make that drive to Dallas for you any day” and the multiple offers for grocery deliveries and the many other things that remind me more and more that I really am part of an incredible community.
I’m as single as a dollar bill, which can be annoying sometimes, but it’s comforting to know that I’m part of something bigger—a caring community that genuinely understands what love is and what love does. Even thinking and talking about my people just now made me briefly forget about how much I hate covid.
And that’s the power of love.