Special Post: What I learned from having COVID-19

covid 19 model

This is the second post I have tried writing about my experience with COVID-19. I discarded the first because it felt inauthentic. There is a lot to say about COVID-19, my experience with it, and what I learned. What follows is just me being real.

Most people want to know how serious my case was and I always tell them that it was somewhere between mild and moderate. Thankfully, I did not have major respiratory problems. The next thing most people want to know is where I got it? COVID-19 is not something you pick up at the grocery store, although you can accidentally pick it up there. I think I got it coaching kids baseball, but does it really matter? Finally, they want to know if I passed it on to anyone? While this is never asked so bluntly, I kind of wish it were because there are no reasonable answers to the question. You simply cannot know for sure, so let’s not dance around it. What I think I know, however, is that my wife and kids never got it.

At least not yet.

It sort of feels inevitable given the world we are living in right now.

If I were to sum the lessons I learned from having COVID-19 into one line it would be this: Have more grace for what other people are going through, and have more grace for their opinions about a global pandemic.

We simply do not need to be this divided over a virus.

My experience with the disease was manageable. My experience of others with me having the disease was often depressing.

Some called to offer support.

Others called to voice opinions, pile on, and even critique past decisions.

Sarah and I are book nerds, so I told her it felt like I had a “scarlet letter” around my neck.

All this again pointed me back to grace. I continually told myself that those voicing opinions, piling on, and critiquing me were all stressed and scared. Upon self-reflection, I realized that I led poorly when stressed or fearful. So not only could I relate, but I also forgave the hurts these opinions caused. This was only accomplished through daily prayer as prayer guided me from resentment to grace.

“I don’t need your prayers,” some say. Others shame anyone who even offers to pray. Well, I need all the prayers I can get and I think our world would be better with more of them. In retrospect, my prayer life carried me through the uncertainty of the entire experience of having COVID-19.

I also realized that I need rest. Can you relate? Maybe we all need to sleep for a few days straight while turning our phones and T.V. Off? A 24/7 blackout for a few days might be what we all need to function again…

During my isolation I spent a morning drinking coffee, listening to an audio book, and watching the field outside our house getting plowed. It was peaceful until I realized I had accomplished nothing. Then I realized how much my identity can be based on productivity and achievement. This is a “watch out” for me, and one both my Executive Coach and an accountability partner help me with. This realization also reminded me that I need give myself grace as well. Perhaps you need to give yourself some too.

My wife, on the other hand, always shows up for these kinds of moments. And she did again! She also had a few moments where she freaked out. She probably won’t like me including that here, but that is 2020 in a nutshell: You keep showing up for the big events, eventually you freak out, and then you go on with living.

Speaking of living, one of the best moments came the first Friday after I tested positive for COVID-19. My friend told me he was coming over to hang. Before you turn us in, we sat more than six feet apart and were also outside. We cracked open a beer and talked about God, life, and everything happening in 2020.

It was a new normal.

Like 2020.

I am healthy.

I am thankful.

I am more graceful.

Hugging my 3-year-old daughter after isolation might be the best moment of 2020…