High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Pandemics are Inconvenient

Pandemics are darn inconvenient. Of course, there is no convenient time for a pandemic.  As with other unwanted situations in life (illness, death of a loved one, flood, fires, etc.), pandemics don’t happen when we are prepared to take an 18 – 24 month break from social gatherings, in-person worship, regular haircuts, family get-togethers, concerts, hockey games, and other favourite activities that would encourage the spread of the virus.


“Ready or not, here I come!”  Just like in the children’s game, the pandemic comes unbidden and unwelcome – whether we are ready or not! 


But who could be ready for a pandemic or a flood or a severe illness?  We might do some practical things to get ready for such circumstances. We might buy insurance, put in flood protection or stockpile PPE.  Yet mostly, we can not prepare, especially for the emotional challenges of unwelcome situations such as pandemics.


So, yes, pandemics are inconvenient.  They interrupt plans.  They thwart our dreams.  They stop us in our tracks.  One day life is ticking along according to schedule and then the pandemic declares, “Ready or not, here I come!”


We find ourselves at home, adapting to online work, school and worship, feeling isolated, trying to figure out how to safely get groceries and medications, and watching more shows than we ever thought we would. 


It may not help much to realize how lucky we have been in the past century here in North America.  Prior to 1920, plagues and devastating diseases were common.  So much so that children’s games of previous eras, such as “Ring around the Rosie,” reflect the common reality of diseases that killed numerous people every year.  Small pox and other European diseases decimated many Indigenous nations, killing so many.


The discovery of penicillin in 1928, the development of vaccines for common illnesses that ravaged children, such as diphtheria and polio, and the development of practices to prevent the spread of infection totally transformed life, especially in North America & Europe.


While previous generations expected to deal with epidemics, we haven’t had to, until now with this new coronavirus.  We have, I’m sad to say, developed a sense of entitlement.  We have begun to feel that we are entitled to life without pandemics or devastating disease.  Some declare that we should just be able to go about our regular business, acting as if the pandemic doesn’t exist, as if the 3.3 million deaths worldwide from COVID-19 haven’t happened, as if there are not people dealing with long-term effects from this disease.


All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:12


I are humbled by this pandemic.  I am reminded of how much I am not in control of life.  I am reminded that I am just one little person of the 7.8 billion in the world, and if I am inconvenienced by this pandemic, that is just too bad.  Ready or not, the pandemic has arrived.


Yet, as one person, I have the ability to make a huge impact on the lives of those around me.  I am in control of that impact.  I can choose to be frustrated, ignore health protocols and generally make life miserable for those around me while possibly spreading the disease (with the potential that it may kill someone I’ve spread it to.)  OR I can choose to live with humility and love, smiling with my eyes, offering gratitude and care to others, following health protocols and getting vaccinated.


You know what I choose – the path of love, because I follow the One who said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”


Pandemics are inconvenient, that’s true!  But we can get through it by humbly and lovingly working together.


Rev. Susan

High River United Church

a community of help, home and hope, serving in Christ's name






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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


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