Not How I Imagined
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!” … I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. – Psalm 4:6 & 8 (NRSV)
The night before my first Covid-19 vaccination, I could barely sleep. I kept turning over in my mind all the ways that it might not happen. What if they ask for an employee ID? Our church doesn’t have employee IDs! For those keeping score at home, I brought my passport and my W2. Absolutely none of which was needed.
When I arrived for my appointment at the hospital, I was directed to a basement-level auditorium. It’s the kind of room normally used for mandatory work-safety seminars where the attendees are alternately eyeing the boxed lunches or the exits.
In my imagination, I would be awash with tears of gratitude and flowing praise like the psalmist. This meant health instead of illness, hope instead of refusing to lift my eyes to any far horizon. After the shot, all I managed was a simple (and slightly croaky), “Thank you.” For someone who makes a living with words, I sure wasn’t very eloquent.
I drove the 30 miles home in silence, thinking of those still waiting, anxiously refreshing vaccine appointment apps hoping that they might see some good. None of this is simple.
I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that it was right to give thanks to the Lord. I slept like a rock that night, having remembered what it was like to lay down in safety.
Thank you, O God. Sorry if that came out a little croaky.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.