Seeking the Stream

If you ask me how Covid-19 has affected me personally, I feel a gaping numbness inside.

I may be a nurse and one of “those” essential workers, but the time-consuming job of covering up from head to toe like a masked robber and ramming a swab far into the nether regions of a patient’s head has been the least of my troubles.

The sword is double-edged for me. First of all, the onslaught of Covid-19 means everyone is masking up (everyone sensible enough to protect each other from the risks, that is) and my chief aid to communication is gone. Poof. Just like that.

I feel myself vaulted back into my sixteenth year when I lost my hearing, and trauma that I thought I had been healed from keeps resurfacing. I’m plagued with dreams and flashbacks from that year. God, how many times do I have to go over something before I am released from it?

In spite of the triggers, I faithfully put on my mask when I step inside the hospital to start my shift. I rummage through my purse to find a mask before going into the grocery store. Whenever I leave the house and go through my mental checklist of what I need, I always think, “Oh, don’t forget the mask!”

I long to look at people in my quiet and direct way, studying their faces as they talk. I know that my trauma is less important than keeping my neighbors and children healthy. But it is still hard.

Another way Covid-19 has affected me is a traumatic loss of a very different sort. I see people I thought of as gentle and loving vaulted into polarizing political camps. The qualities of nonviolence and suffering love that I thought were so deeply embedded into our Mennonite tradition seem to be almost nonexistent in so many of my Mennonite friends.

The way of Jesus is being replaced by the way of worldly government, money, and power. I feel lost and alone, because the things I value so highly even while living outside the Mennonite community are rapidly disappearing from inside the tight-knit community I love so much.

The loss of effective communication along with the loss of historic community has been great. Many days I wake up with sadness aching in my chest.

Today as I drove my foster child home from an appointment in Wichita, I noticed a lone bird winging over a dusty field of harvested wheat toward the tree-lined river. I thought of the verses from Isaiah:

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.

Isaiah 44:3-4 (ESV)

Another verse a few chapters later:

they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.

Isaiah 49:10 (ESV)

And again:

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11 (ESV)

I watched the bird on her solitary flight to the river, and thought of all the other birds around the world that are also flying toward water, flying toward health and peace and vitality.

I saw myself like the bird seeking the stream, pressing wearily on in spite of this trauma-inducing pandemic to find the healing, peace, and purpose that only comes through the gentle waters of the Holy Spirit.

I am seeking the stream. I am alone, yet not alone, for my heart tells me that others are also journeying toward living water. We are connected, not by communication, heritage, or denomination, but by a common purpose–life in the Spirit.

Together we are seeking the stream.


20 thoughts on “Seeking the Stream

  1. Lois Overholt

    I too am very sad to see our people get so involved and verbal about politics and all that is going on in our world. God is in control and he will put into office who he wills and all our ideas don’t make any difference. I can do far more by praying and loving than I can by putting my ideas on public media.

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  2. The Burkholder Family

    Yes, I can understand the loss of being able to communicate with folks is a hardship. I am sorry. I have family members in this place as well. May God grant you patience and endurance through this difficulty. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Lois Reed

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  3. Miriam Iwashige

    One morning while I was listening to the livestream from church, I heard Arlyn say that he was surprised that different responses to Covid-19 took on political implications. He was not prepared for that. Sadly, I almost expected that, but nothing about expecting it made things any easier to bear.

    Why is it so hard to admit that we don’t know “everything,” but that we can trust the Lord to show us what we need to know to act wisely. I believe that will involve caution, consideration, and kindness–and listening especially to those whose training and careers have prepared them to help address our current challenges. Perhaps most important of all, we have a chance to evaluate, re-calibrate, and “be better” going forward. We miss out on so much when we plow ahead with our self-confident habits, political loyalties and loud voices intact. To extend your analogy, this is like flying over the dry wheat stubble toward the stream, and passing right over the stream without noticing its presence or benefiting from its refreshment.

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  4. Kelsey

    Mmmm I feel your post tonight. The deep weariness. May you find rest in His living water that covers you with peace and grace. I pray His presence would bring refreshment and comfort to you right now. Thankyou for your honest and beautifully written post. Kelsey xx

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  5. Holly Dickson-Ramos

    Thanks for this, Rosina. For some reason it is so comforting to hear others speak candidly about their struggles with this situation… perhaps because even though it affects us all, the isolation makes it feel as though it doesn’t. We wrestle with the angst of the pandemic apart from many who usually share life with us. Your words bring comfort because they remind all of us that we aren’t alone as we struggle.

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    1. Yes…isolation is hard. It affects us deeply in so many ways! If we can band together, by the grace of Jesus we will make it through this difficult season! ❤

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  6. Darla

    I am an Anabaptist Mennonite, and I find myself bewildered and confused by the polarization you mention. The voices are so loud! So divisive!
    Is this what we are? How have we come to be so political? I am asking myself so many questions that seem to have no answers. Why do we not respect each others’ viewpoints? Does this point to a deep seated problem within our culture (and why do I fear the answer to this question)?
    And yet I am so encouraged to know of the prayers offered up and the deep ‘seeking after God alone’ that I see in many of my friends. So help me God. . . may I be forever changed.

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    1. Yes, it’s hard. I think the unwillingness to listen and learn stems from pride in ourselves and our culture, and from trust in the world’s systems over God’s Kingdom. But as you say, many dear people haven’t hardened their hearts to the gentle teaching of the Holy Spirit!

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  7. You are not alone. There are many, I’m one, who have retreated from social media to be quiet and seek that refreshment. I grieve with you that far too many voices are shouting. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’m so sorry for the extra isolation that mask-wearing brings to you. But I do want you to know that you are not alone.
    Gina

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