There are untouchables.  People and people groups that are above reproach.  No matter what happens, we can never call these groups to account for what they have done. 

The Jewish people have often been persecuted.  The holocaust and genocide are concepts linked in the minds of the people of earth.  The holocaust was a genocide.  Genocides are like the holocaust.  Most people accept that the holocaust happened, and the majority of people would say that it was a bad thing in the history of the world. 

The Jewish people were persecuted and murdered by the Roman Empire around the first century.  They were taken captive by the Babylonians.  They became a nation as slaves in Egypt.  Somehow, they have managed to survive 4+ millenia of persecution and found themselves once again facing destruction at the hands of yet another empire during the 30’s and 40’s. 

In a sense, the Jewish people have become untouchable.  They are above reproach.  I know that I was taught to believe that the Jews were God’s chosen people and as such they must be revered and protected.  They must have a homeland, they’ve been blessed by God and to position yourself against the actions of Israel is to position yourself against God and his works. 

The older I grow, the more willing I am to admit that I am a person who is full of contradictions.  I am a person who has changed my mind, and will likely continue to change my mind.  You could argue that I am a rudderless ship, or a blind person stumbling in the darkness. 

Do I believe that the Jewish people were chosen by God and exist today because of his protection?  Yes. 

Do I believe that the favor of God means you are above reproach?  No. 

The Bible speaks of David the son of Jesse as being a man after God’s own heart.  David.  The little shepherd who was left behind when his brothers went to war.  David.  Who slew the giant Goliath when all others feared to even try.  David.  The musician who’s skilled playing calmed the king of Israel during fits of rage.  David.  The boy who married the daughter of the king of Israel for a bloody price.  David.  The same boy who grew up to become the future king’s best friend.  David. Who mourned the death of the king that had called for his death, and the death of his son.  David.  Who became the 2nd king of Israel.    

David lead the people of Israel successfully for many years.  He encouraged them to worship God.  His heart’s desire was to see a home built for his people, and for his God.  He bemoaned living in a palace while his God was still in the tent built for him as they crossed the wilderness into the promised land.  David the king was still a man after God’s own heart.  David the king clearly had the favor of God, and was loved by many.  

King David was so loved, that the strong men of Israel, instead of setting themselves against him and his efforts to be king, instead fell under his will, and were known as David’s mighty men.  Those men who could have been squabbling or battling to take their place as leader of the kingdom instead humbled themselves to be servants of the king. 

King David was a man who had it all, and had the blessing of God on his life.  He had wives, children, money, property, and faithful servants.  Who could deny him what he wanted?  A king is untouchable.  His rule is law.  Anything goes and don’t you dare stand in the king’s way or you will feel the weight of the kingdom brought against you.

The day came when all that David had was not enough.  He was not satisfied.  He took the wife of one of his mighty men, slept with her, and then murdered her husband, Uriah.  Uriah died on the battlefield, fighting for his king as the king’s commanders withdrew the men supporting Uriah. 

The king was untouchable.  What could anyone do? 

Nathan was a prophet who listened to the voice of God.  God told him that David had done wrong, and that David needed to repent.  Everything in the life of David seemed to indicate that he had God’s favor.  He was still a man after God’s own heart in the eyes of his people.  Nathan found himself speaking against the king, alone.  Nathan likely fully believed he would be killed for his message, but he knew that when he heard the voice of God, he had no choice but to speak the truth. 

The message Nathan had for David was thus. 

“And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought.
 And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.  Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

David was furious at the rich man who, while having plenty, instead took from the poor man.  When Nathan revealed that David himself was the rich man stealing from the poor man, David’s heart broke.  He was caught.  He was in the wrong.  He sought God’s forgiveness.

The world needs Nathan’s.  The world needs people who listen to God’s voice and who are not afraid to tell even God’s chosen that they are doing wrong. 

I pray that we understand that no one is untouchable.  I pray that we understand that a past filled with righteous deeds does not negate present sin.  I pray that we open our hearts to the poor man whose children are dying, and that we stand up for them in whatever ways we can. 

Are we alone?

The stars are such a beautiful thing. Each star in and of itself is a marvel, a big ball of gas burning up there in that big, bluish-black thing, but taken together the stars are more than the sum of their parts. The universe is so big and we are so little, everyone we know and love squeezed onto this pale blue dot that is just one of an unknown number of planets in orbit around a star. Who of us haven’t been awestruck as we gaze up into the clear night sky and are swallowed by the enormity of the cosmos?

On the night I remember here, I wasn’t just awestruck, I was terrified. Our mobile home was situated east to west, my bedroom was on the east end, and I had been looking out the window from the top bunk as I waited to drift off to sleep for the night. The stars were clear and bright, and I watched as one drifted across the sky from south to north, made an abrupt 90 degree turn, fell several hundred feet, made another abrupt 90 degree turn and then continued on to the edge of what I could see from my window. It was out of sight in seconds.

That isn’t how airplanes fly, I told myself, they can’t turn that quickly or move that fast.

Surely it had to be a plane, right?

The light hadn’t been flashing like the airplanes I was used to seeing.

What was it? What could have possibly made that turn so quickly, appear to fall for hundreds of feet, and then resume course so quickly it seemed like nothing had happened?

Are we alone here? Are we alone in this universe?

Terrified, shaking, I trembled in fear until finally I fell asleep.

I don’t think I told anyone the next morning, but if I did I wasn’t believed. Slowly that moment has slipped further and further into the past, but the memory is clear to me. I saw something I can’t explain that night. Even as I think about it now, I can not explain what I saw. Satellites look like a moving star, like this did, but it would be impossible for one to make such a dramatic shift in it’s course so quickly. A falling star or meteor is discounted for the same reasons. There was no airport along the flight path that would have necessitated a landing light being turned on for an airplane, and it couldn’t make that turn. A helicopter could have flown as this did with straight angles, but at nowhere near the speed I witnessed. We live in a world that obeys the laws of physics and whatever I saw that night seemingly ignored inertia. There was no curve to it’s path. Straight, falling, then straight again in a matter of moments. Out of sight in seconds.

I’ll suspect I’ll never forget that night.

In the past few years, the United States government has been increasingly open to saying “we can’t explain this” when confronted with evidence of what are now called Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena or UAP’s for short. Whistleblowers have released stories this week of a massive conspiracy to hide the retrieval and reverse engineering of objects of non-human origin across the globe over the course of decades. With the preponderance of the internet and cameras we all carry in our pockets at all times, more and more is added to the body of evidence that seems to indicate we are not alone in this universe.

Am I telling you there is irrefutable evidence intelligent beings from another place are real? No, I am not telling you that.

What if we aren’t alone, however? How does that change what we have believed about our place in the world, in the galaxy, and in the universe?

As a Christian, I must ask myself how does this change my faith? Can faith exist in a universe with more than one home of intelligent life? Does your faith fall apart if we aren’t God’s one and only special creation?

Will you allow me to share a few thoughts that I’ve been slowly ruminating on since the night I saw the impossible?

Let me begin by saying that if there is other life out there, God is not surprised. If we truly believe in a good and loving God who is omnipotent and omnipresent, when confronted with evidence of other life in the universe, we must conclude that God not only knew about it, but created it intentionally with a purpose to fulfill. Will we understand that purpose? I’m sure we won’t understand it immediately. Will it be the same purpose as that entrusted to the human race? Maybe, but maybe not. Will there be a purpose? Yes! Will this life bear the image of God? Yes! Will it look anything like us? Probably not!

If this other life exists and God is not surprised, I would argue that he has left us instructions on how to interact with it. I think we may find a deeper level of truth in the entire Bible that we have simply not been aware of. Love thy neighbor as thyself and do unto others as you would have them do to you can be deepened and broadened to include our celestial neighbors. Biblical instructions in Leviticus to treat the foreigner as you would a native born become even more meaningful in light of visitors from another world. If we are to follow the will of God, we should be prepared to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, and to heal the sick, as by doing this we are doing it unto the Lord.

Heaven help us if this be the case, but we are even to bless those who persecute us.

I have always gravitated to the verse in John 10:16 that says “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Ostensibly this verse is about Jew and Gentile, but couldn’t the Bible have a deeper current still than the one we see on the surface? In James it speaks of us Christians as a kind of firstfruits of all that God created. Are we to lead other sheep to God’s fold?

In Genesis, God promises Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars. What if God has always planned to take us to new planets so that descendants of Abraham could truly be as numerous as the stars in the sky? By mathematical predictions we estimate that there are nearly 200 billion trillion stars in the sky, and mathematical predictions suggest that only 117 billion people have lived on the earth thus far. As Roy Scheider famously said “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

I don’t say all of this to say “This is what is truth.” Instead I am simple trying to say, “There is room for this, in the truth.” The truth hasn’t changed, it won’t change, but our understanding of it will grow. Even if we have no celestial neighbors, we can certainly stretch ourselves to better love those we have here on this planet with us. Perhaps as we think of someday meeting intelligent life on or from another planet, we can learn how to love and cherish the life of this one in a way that truly honors our creator.

Perhaps tomorrow all of this hype will be revealed to have been a hoax. Perhaps someone will come out from behind a curtain somewhere and say “Gotcha!”.

Either way, I believe in a God that is big enough for either possibility.

I also know that we are not alone.

Disclaimer: All thoughts are my own, and are in no way reflective of any statements or stances of my employers, associates, or friends. I stand alone in these statements, although we may not be alone in the universe.

Cat of the Living Dead

There is a famous thought experiment known as “Schrödinger’s cat” that seems so obviously false that many people dismiss it immediately as ridiculous. The thought experiment starts with a cat trapped in an opaque box with a poison that will be released by the decay of a radioactive element. Without observation, there is no way to know if the cat is still alive because we can’t know if the poison has been released. So quantum physicists treat the cat in the experiment as both dead and alive simultaneously.

Ridiculous right? Most adults would emphatically state that a cat can not be both dead and alive at the same time. Even the person who is aware of this thought experiment understands that the cat isn’t really dead and alive, but rather that we don’t know which it is.

The real use of the thought experiment is beyond my understanding of physics, I’m just not that smart. It occurred to me, however, that I see the experiment playing out in my own life every day, and I’ll bet that it plays out in your life too.

For example, how often do you not open a text because you are afraid of what it might say? You know that it contains one of two possible messages, but rather than accept the truth of the message right away, we put off reading the text because while it remains unread, there is still hope. We fool ourselves into believing that both possibilities still exist, while in reality one of the two possibilities ceased to exist the moment the text was written.

We chose not to observe because we are afraid of reality and the consequences of it in our lives.

Suddenly this absurd thought experiment starts to reveal a deeper truth about ourselves. We are so often afraid to confront reality.

Perhaps for you this experiment is revealed in your approach to society. Perhaps you’ve found yourself saying that there “is no racism” in this country without really looking in the box to see the truth. Maybe you’ve decided that the pandemic is fake, or the election was stolen, or the election wasn’t stolen or the pandemic is very real without actually looking for yourself. While the truth remains unobserved, we have the freedom to act as if both things are true. We chose to act in line with our thoughts and feelings rather than acknowledging and accepting the truth that would be evident if we were just brave enough to look in the box.

Perhaps for you this experiment reveals itself in your relationship with the people around you. You are afraid to ask for help, because you are afraid no one will be there for you. You won’t express your emotions, because you are afraid you will be rejected or thought poorly of. You can’t ask someone for forgiveness because you are afraid they’ll never forgive you.. We are afraid we are unloved, so we never tell anyone we love them.

Or perhaps you avoid new situations, new challenges because you don’t know if you will succeed. You refuse to ask for the promotion because they may not feel you deserve it. You won’t try completing a marathon because you’re afraid you might fail. You won’t invest in your education because you’re afraid you’ll discover that you just aren’t smart enough. You won’t invest in your business idea because you might not be any good at it.

Why does it matter if I’ve chosen to look in the box or not? When applied in it’s original context, bad data equals incorrect results. In one interpretation of quantum mechanics, the superposition of the cat who is dead and alive results in a splitting of one world into two. (Fans of Marvel movies should be well acquainted with multiple timelines at this point.)

Humanity builds its actions and future from what we have observed. I see that a traffic light has turned red and I make the decision to stop. I see that the sink is full, so I turn off the water. My wife sees that I have fallen asleep, so she stops talking to me. Knowing the truth guides us to the best course of action in any given moment. A society that sees and acknowledges the truth of an issue can take steps to correct it, mitigating consequences. A society that refuses to see the truth reaps the consequences of ignoring it in full.

When we refuse to open the box we are like the man who looks in the mirror but immediately forgets what he looks like. The unkempt hair of injustice is uncorrected, the stain of hatred on the clothing of humanity remains untreated. Our souls perish because we refuse to observe the truth.

We are afraid we’ve sinned too much, so we never seek forgiveness.

We are afraid that we are un-redeemable, so we accept separation and exile.

Friends. Sometimes the truth hurts. It is still true, and we should still seek it out.

And in that day you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

I say to you truly, you are loved. The price of your redemption has already been paid.

Open the box.

I had Covid-19.

It started with a light cough after a week of work out of town, I was pretty sure it was just a cold. Now, It has been 3 weeks and I still have a cough, shortness of breath, and a bit of overall weakness. I had Covid-19.

I’m going to write about my experience, not because it was particularly interesting or I have anything inspiring to say, but because they are still people who think this isn’t real. When I stopped at the gas station yesterday the cashier asked me what I thought about masks and if this whole thing was real or not. I told him a little bit about my time in the hospital, and he ended up giving me a soup recipe to help me recover. I still regularly see people posting on social media conspiracy theories about how none of this is real and it’s all part of an attempt to take away our rights. So I’m sharing my experience. Draw your own conclusions about what is happening, but know that my story is true and that I am telling you the truth about what happened to me.

I started feeling poorly Saturday the 24th of October. I went to church the next day, certain it was just a cold, and I wore my mask and kept my distance from the people around me. I was in an isolated room for most of the time I was there and made it a point to not linger near anyone for very long. I called in to work on Monday, planning to go in on Tuesday and spend 3 days out of town on various projects. I didn’t make it in to work on Tuesday either.

The fever started on Tuesday night. A bit before this point I had started sleeping on the couch in hopes that my wife would not also get sick. For the next 5 days I was on the couch almost exclusively, only getting up to make trips to the restroom. As the fever continued to rage, I took regular doses of Tylenol in hopes of breaking the fever. The fever would calm down for a few hours, then as the medicine wore off it would return. The highest temperature I remember seeing during this 5 days was 103.3. I felt terrible, I had no appetite and I couldn’t breath. I had dramatic episodes of chills, followed by waking up soaked in sweat. I woke up several times over the 5 days of fever gasping for air, just trying to get enough oxygen to stop panicking and return to automatic breathing. On Thursday, Samantha and I took a Covid test in the drivethrough of a CVS pharmacy and we began to wait on our results.

It always seemed like the fever had to break soon, I was certain I would wake up the next morning and find that I was a few more miles down the road to recovery.

A few quick background notes. Before this experience, I have not seen a medical professional or even been to a family doctor since the year 1998. This is not an exaggeration, it has literally been 20+ years. I have been pretty sick lots of times, but I’ve always eventually recovered and I had hoped this would be the same.

On average, I have lived a life of average health. Over the past 10 years I have finished 4 marathons and 2 ultra-marathons (slowly) and have had years where I have run more than 300 miles in a season. I’ve done several long bike rides, I love to hike, and just this year I kayaked 34 miles in a day down the entire length of Cedar Creek which involved LOTS of scrambling over fallen trees hauling the kayak with me.

My job is very physical at times, and involves climbing through attics and basements and everywhere in between, often while carrying heavy loads. I was a bit overweight going into this illness, 10-15 pounds and I haven’t been as active this year as others, but I would say that I fall into the upper middle of the pack in terms of overall general health. I really felt like I was in a good position to be someone who could shake Covid at home.

It wasn’t just pride or arrogance that kept me from going to the doctor this time, although I have to admit that was a part of it. I couldn’t help but remember all of the times the news or the government told us that “most people will only have the symptoms of a very bad cold”. I still kind of thought that is where I was. I had a bad cold and I would get over it. I also knew that cases were rising dramatically across the state of Indiana and that the hospitals were going to start being overrun by cases that really needed help. I didn’t think I was one of those, so I kept waiting for the fever to subside so I could start recovering.

It was Sunday night, November 1st , a full week and a day past the onset of symptoms when my dad (an ER nurse at Dupont hospital) came over to see how I was doing. About 10 minutes after he got to our house, we were in the car on the way to the hospital. I had a hard time breathing on the way due to the mask, and I was brought inside in a wheelchair.

Heading in to the hospital.

I was rapid tested for Covid and was confirmed positive. (My CVS results still had not come in.) I was put on oxygen, given some Tylenol and a few other drugs, got a chest x-ray, blood tests, and various other vitals were taken. Interestingly, I think it was during the first few hours in the ER that my fever finally broke for the last time.

After about 2 hours, I felt ready to go home, so they measured my pulse-ox levels, took me off the oxygen, had me walk around the room for just a minute, retook my pulse-ox level and told me I would be staying the night. I was transferred to a room in the regular part of the hospital and was poked and prodded and tested off and on through the remainder of the night. In the morning, I was moved into the Covid wing of the hospital, which had just had a bed open up.

My hospital home for 6 days.

I was started on antibiotics, remdesivir, a ton of vitamins, and I was on an IV constantly. I was on a heart monitor my entire stay in the hospital. I was told to spend as much time on my stomach as possible, as my right lung had an infection that looked a lot like pneumonia. I was on oxygen almost the entire stay in the hospital. I was started on the basic nose cannula, but I wasn’t doing well enough on that, and they moved me up to a high flow cannula instead. The next step beyond that would have been a ventilator, and thankfully it didn’t quite come to that for me.

At some point during one of the nights, my heart freaked out and my heart rate was in the upper 30’s. The next morning I was placed on Eliquis and some blood pressure medicine. I even got a fancy test that was a lot like an ultrasound, with the gel and everything!

Through all of this, I was well cared for by the various nurses and techs assigned to me. Each one of these nurses was fully decked out in protective equipment, some wearing multiple masks, and the ones specifically assigned to the Covid ward were all wearing soft helmets that had a ventilation system that was strapped to their back like a fanny pack. The hospital wing itself was held under negative pressure, an entire patient room converted to a giant air handler that had half a dozen blowers constantly pulling air in from the rest of the hospital and then exhausting it outwards through a converted window to ensure that Covid would not spread back into the general hospital population. The entire time I was in my room, the blowers were constantly running and it was reasonably loud. I can only imagine the emotional and psychological wear and tear all of these PPE requirements and noise puts on the staff of the hospital.

I’m not much of an artist…but again…boredom was a thing.

It was 6 days before I finally stabilized enough that they allowed me to go home. I went home on November 7th, 15 days after I first started feeling ill. I lost roughly 12 pounds during my experience, I’m just now able to speak normally, and I still have a bit of trouble transitioning from laying to sitting or standing as my body has to breath quickly to catch up. It’s now been a week since I left the hospital, and I really felt almost normal yesterday for the first time. I still have lots of bruises from the various blood tests and shots I received, but they are starting to fade.

They say that it is likely I’ll be dealing with the effects of Covid for up to 8 weeks. So maybe by the time 2021 rolls around I’ll be back to normal. There have been a few cases where someone who has been infected is re-infected. Usually the 2nd round is worse than the first, so if that happens to me I’ll be trying to get to the hospital early.

As far as I can tell, no one really knows yet exactly why some people are more impacted than others. I have had coworkers who were sick for a week and back to normal. It seems that is the most common story for most people who get it. My wife, Samantha, tested positive and her symptoms were much more mild, and she didn’t need to see a doctor. Overall, she pretty much feels like she had a cold or a stomach bug and that was it for her.

Since no one really knows why certain cases are so much worse than others, there really doesn’t seem to be a way to know how Covid will effect you until you have it. Again, I’m a reasonably healthy person who is only 36 and this is the most dramatic illness I’ve ever had and the longest hospital stay in my entire life. I would argue that my wife is not as physically fit as I am, but she was not impacted nearly as much.

I have been pretty consistent about wearing a mask, but I also know that I had stopped being as diligent in washing my hands and using hand sanitizer after I was in a public place before I was infected. I suspect that my infection probably was the result of unclean hands or overnight time in a hotel room that wasn’t sufficiently cleaned. I’m trying to retrain myself to be more deliberate in hand washing and sanitizing again, because even if I have immunity now (which isn’t guaranteed), I can spread it to others who do not.

When I arrived and left the hospital, they were out of Covid beds. Once my room was cleaned they immediately moved someone new into it. The doctors and nurses were all very professional, but they were not hiding the fact that things were getting intense and they were out of room and running out of energy. Each healthcare worker was exposing themselves to some level to the risk of Covid, and I am so very grateful for their sacrifices to take care of those who needed it. So if for no other reason, wear a mask and wash your hands so you don’t have to go to the hospital. Wear a mask and wash your hands so you don’t add to the already heavy work load they are experiencing.

If you feel like your personal freedoms are being attacked, please remember that God has called us to a life of service to himself, a life of denial of our own self. Jesus allowed himself to be put to death for sins he did not commit. He held nothing back from protecting us from the consequences of our own sin.

Please be sure that you are pursuing what God has asked of you in this moment, not a desire of your own heart to be free needlessly. Peter, Paul, and other apostles and early leaders of our faith submitted themselves to prison and even death in order to honor God with their lives…surely a mask is far less of a cost.

Thank you for reading…if you have any questions I would be happy to try to answer them. Thank you to each person who prayed for Samantha and I during this illness, and thank you to everyone who reached out to offer help. We are so so grateful for all that each of you have done. .

The sun came out the day I was able to go home. It was incredible to be outside again.

Related Reading:
In Sickness
In Health
Cancer Free Soul

Watch 35 (2019-2020)

Each year on my birthday, I retire the watch that I have worn during the previous year, and I write a bit about the year to help myself, and perhaps those who come after me remember some of what it was like. Usually I look forward to this process, but this past year has been filled with some difficult moments and I find myself dreading the process of reflection that is required of me.

Last year when I wrote to you on my birthday, Samantha and I had made the decision to invest in starting our own business. This meant taking out a loan and I spent a week in Tennessee in September to get a Thermography certification. I drove our recently repaired car down to Nashville over the course of a few days, and spent my time out of class in a tent at the campsite that was all we could afford. I did well on my test, and was excited to begin putting my energy into something that would be mine, instead of building the empires of others. I was ready for a change, and this seemed like the path forward to new horizons and growth.

I remember the months of October, November, and December being some of the busiest of my life, as I worked to finish significant projects at my day job. The company I worked for had grown, and we had a lot on our plate that fall. I did my best to ensure that I was finishing my work well, as I was hoping to expand into the new business without leaving a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. These three months turned my day job to a day and night job as I often woke up at 5 am to continue work that we had halted at 11 pm the previous night. I had very little time to do much with our new business.

The final project for the year ran right up to the edge of Christmas, and our annual company Christmas party. It was a memorable night after a very unpleasant week of work. Unfortunately not all memories are good.

I had arrived late to our office on the way back from our project 4 hours south, and didn’t have time to go home and change. Instead I made the choice to grab the drones and other equipment I had stored in the warehouse over the week, and bring them home so I could start working on the business during our short Christmas break. This was a fateful decision as that night at the Christmas party all of the equipment was stolen from my truck.

Cameras, drones, and my computer were all gone in a moment. Our business plan was destroyed. The final total of stolen equipment was over $40,000 and I had not made time in my too busy schedule to insure it. Years and years of my best photography and other work was gone, safely stored in the hard drives of the computer that was now no longer mine.

It is a struggle to see the purpose and the meaning of this theft even now in August, 8 months later.

January is a blur of mourning for me. Mourning for the loss of my dream, for the loss of the hope that I had placed in the new business. I thought it was going to be my path to independence, to being my own boss. Instead, I found that I had saddled our family with a significant debt with nothing to show for it. We will be paying that loan over the course of 5 years. $600 a month with no way to offset the cost. The burden has been heavy.

February came, and with it came growing concerns of a new virus that was spreading in Asia and had come to the United States. At this point in our history, the United States was already very divided, and this issue was yet another wedge driving states, cities, and even families apart.

In March, we began to lock down to slow the spread of the virus. This meant that many people were unable to work, collecting unemployment while their “non-essential” businesses waited for the all-clear to begin working again. I was classed as an “essential” worker through a loose connection to IT and electrical work and continued to work through the entirety of the pandemic.

I miss the clear roads of those early weeks of lock down, but it was difficult to find places to eat, especially when our work vehicles were often too large to fit in the drive thru’s that were the only restaurants open for a while.

The pandemic also affected our church, and we found that we had to being streaming our services on the internet, our church services limited to 10 people or less in the sanctuary at a time. I was blessed to be a part of the video team, and as we continued streaming and producing services on video, I was offered a position as the lead broadcast producer at our church. I am proud that even though our church facility was effectively closed to the congregation, we were able to serve them through video and online services. As facilities began to open up, we continued our video services, and I believe our church has actually grown through the pandemic. Many churches did not, and many churches have not yet reopened their doors.

Samantha and I finally became insured this summer, and we are looking forward to starting our family. We have been working toward this moment for a long time. It is one of the few things I am looking forward to in this coming year, but also fills me with anxiousness for the unknown that will come with it.

It’s hard to know what the next year might hold for Samantha and I, this past year has not been the one we were expecting or hoping for. I am emotionally and physically drained and I know it has been difficult for Samantha as well. If the Lord is willing, we will write again next year as I retire another watch. I do not think that I will miss this one very much.