Photo of road in woods/Lace Williams-Tinajero

Holding On In The Letting Go In A Pandemic: Bound and Free

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Holding On In The Letting Go In A Pandemic: Bound and Free

By Lace Williams-Tinajero

Read Part 1 in this series here.

The labyrinth you have entered has no map and no exit, for this is your life now.

You knock on many doors along the way only to be passed on to the next door. Until the ICU becomes your new home. Out the window, flags fly at half-mast to remember the half-million dead.

It is hard to know when to let life’s moments unfold by accepting what is happening or when to take matters into your own hands and try to change the circumstances.

Henri Nouwen says that when a person discovers their truest calling, there will be many pulls away from it.

Dealing With Sickness

Sickness being one of them.

In trying to get help for your symptoms, a pattern emerges. Panic. Google. Call a doctor. Wait for an appointment. Finally see the doctor who then makes a referral to another doctor. Schedule and wait for that appointment. The new doctor orders a test. Schedule and wait for the test. Go through the test. Wait for results. Based on the results, seek treatment or get scheduled for another test, perhaps even surgery, or meet new specialists.

Each time you fill out the paperwork you repeat the same information. After returning the pages on the clipboard to the front desk, someone comes to the waiting area, calls out your name, and takes you back to a room. After checking your weight and vitals, the door closes and you are left alone.

You wait for the doctor. The wait is worth it. The doctor is, after all, the only one who can tease out what is going on.

Despite this personal touch, the whole medical system has a factory feel. The clinical formality of it all is not unlike a conveyor belt, passing the embodiment to each station long enough for technicians to do their part.

“Fixed”

Yet some things cannot be ‘fixed.’ You are no robot. You are a human being. You have a will, and your will is to live. Unlike a manufactured part being moved along, you can still get up, at least for now.

Beyond the walls and doors, even the ones you construct in your mind, you are free. Despite the isolation in this medical maze and not being able to see loved ones, you know they care for you.

Just as you are.

In “Out of Solitude“, Nouwen says “When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”

Your Journey

It is true, your journey is understood by no one more than yourself, even though millions are affected by the same virus. It is in this sense of taking up your own mat and to walk as you are able. But even if not, the freedom offered in the living, dying, and resurrected Jesus Christ reveals just how strong and liberated you truly are.

Still, you suffer if you tell yourself that you go it alone. Reflecting on all the interactions you’ve had with others—yesterday, today, those to come—you take special care to nurture and hold dear the ones that have made you feel the most connected.

Either in touch or isolation, breathing on your own or with the help of a machine, in holding on to life or letting it go.

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