Our Stories: A different COVID-19

Contributed Community

By T. Adrienne Terrell

Some of you may know that I write the weekly column for Union Springs News in the Morgan County Citizen newspaper.  After reading several articles by many of the local citizens on the pandemic of COVID-19, I wanted to give my spin on life dealing with this virus.

Like many, I watch the news…a lot.  Also like many, I began to follow the reports of the coronavirus especially with its rapid spread in China.  The more it spread, the more I watched the news reports.  

At first, President Donald Trump wanted to downplay what was happening on the other side of the world.  Yet, the news reports had a different take.  We began to hear about the rapid spread and then the numerous deaths.  I believe that the rising death toll was the thing that captured the interest of the American people and rightly so.  

Next came flight restrictions and cancellations.  Then countries blocked travel to and from their countries.  For me, when I heard about the number of deaths in Italy along with the rapid spread there, I knew then there was more than what concerned “over there.”  Besides, Rome is in Italy with the Vatican and the Pope.  How can something like a virus be devastating that particular area?  Did I mention, the Pope is there!  A holy city that has hundreds of people dying.  I saw it in the news.  All those caskets.  All those dead bodies.  This makes no sense.

Something had to be done.  Finally, the president changed his posture.  Believe it or not, he got “more presidential.”  Some say that that the US reacted too late to the pandemic.  That is possibly true, but Trump and even the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, had tough choices to make.  This is hard for a life-long democrat to say, but they are doing a good job.  (Yeah, that hurt coming out of my throat!)  Nonetheless, both men were in a hard place and had to make what they believed to be the best decisions for us.  (Oops, I did it again!)  We can all say what we would have done but until you are in the driver’s seat, sometimes we have to trust the one holding the wheel.  

The US restricted travel.  And don’t talk about the cruise lines.  As an avid cruiser, I was thankful that I did not have a trip planned for this year.  I would have been heartbroken to cancel it but as this life-changing event progressed, cancellation would have been a no-brainer.  But there was a bigger picture in all of this.

Fear.  Like wildfire, fear spread.  Perhaps this is natural considering the number of deaths but we live here in the United States.  Surely, we can quickly handle and contain this virus.  Not so easy, though.  Life as we know it had changed and will never be the same.

Next came the mandates on closing almost everything.  Government offices closed.  Malls closed.  Schools closed.  Now wait a minute.  Schools?  First, it was for a couple weeks.  Then three weeks.  The rest of the school term?  Oh, yes.  We adapted with distance learning.  Perhaps that was not too bad.  I had the opportunity to “teach” one of my grandsons during this time.  My momma always told me that I should have been a teacher…but I digress.  May I also mention the restaurant industry?  One of the largest industries in our country totally distressed.  Eating out is a part of American life.  Again, we adapted with take-out and delivery service.  Not the same but again, there is a bigger picture to contemplate.  Everyone is questioning everything.  Why?  How?  When?  What is the answer?  God. 

With the mandates that came down to close businesses and schools also came the heavy pressure to close churches.  Now wait a minute!  You can’t close church!  The next thing you knew, most churches shut their doors.  An alternative was streaming videos of Sunday services and Bible Studies.  For me, that option was like receiving a participation ribbon just for showing up.  Yes, I understand that this was a full on effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Perfectly acceptable and I am not condemning those that made the choice, and it was a choice, not to attend church.  God bless you!  They made the correct decision for themselves and their families.  So, what about the ones that still have that burning desire to attend church and Bible Study in the church house?  Most said no.  

     Well…my church was one of the very few that continued to have worship service actually in the church.  Hold on…wait a minute…breathe in…breathe out.  Before you get upset with wind in your jaws, just listen.  My husband and I made a conscious choice to attend church.  Even though I write a weekly column for Union Springs News and I like to be there in person, I could have just as easily watched services online and still been able to produce a good work.  

There was no family pressure (my brother-in-law is the pastor) or pressure from anyone else at the church.  In fact, my husband and I really did not talk it over much.  When Sunday rolled around, we dressed and headed out to the house of prayer.

We attend Union Springs Baptist Church in Rutledge, GA and the church has been a part of t. v. news reports and plastered on numerous newspapers all over the county.  Didn’t we know that many people died in South Georgia by attending a funeral and in another place, several caught the virus in a church choir?  Yes and a few of us still went to church. 

The small number of us that continued attending church trusted that God would take care of us.  We socially distanced ourselves at church along with having temperature checks and then questioned about our health prior entering the sanctuary.  Most people wore masks.  No hugging…no kissing…just praising the Lord.  I feel great about our decision to continue with our church lives.  “Let hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”  —Hebrews 10:23-25.  If I can assemble with my people in church, I will.  

At the time that I am writing this, some of the shelter in place orders are softening.  A few more businesses are opening to the public.  Tensions are easing.  

All in all, my life did not change a great deal other than wearing masks in public or wearing gloves when shopping.  I missed several weeks of work as an orthodontic assistant with my new office.  I love what I do so much that it is hard to consider it work.  Yet, even with that, my office did several Zoom meetings as we received updates on work and when we could return back to take care of our patients.  I really missed my co-workers and Bob!

    The Lord has continued to be with me and bless during this time.  He protected my family.  He made some major decisions for me concerning work and what to do while on furlough in a non-essential position.  This shift in my life caused me to press closer to God.  Talk about a leap of faith!  I had to depend completely on the Lord to take care of me.  Regardless of if you like my decision or not, regardless of what happens next, my God is always faithful!  Thanks for letting me share my story with you.  As always, Glory Be to God!. 

T. Adrienne Terrell is a 20-year resident of Morgan County by way of the Classic City- Athens.  She has worked in all phases of orthodontics for the past 26 years and loves making beautiful smiles

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