Choosing Hope Over Fear

“Holed Up for a Year, I Hope…”

Holy Week blog post from Janie Piemonte

It has been more than a year since the pandemic shutdown began and if I am being completely honest, I have fared extremely well throughout, unlike many others.  But I don’t think anybody comes out of this experience unscathed.

Do you watch the tv show “New Amsterdam?” In my opinion, they have tackled the many facets of this pandemic in ways that are both insightful and thought-provoking.  As I watched the latest episode, I realized it gave me the topic I needed for this post….so here goes.

I hope we can recover from the fear.  

We have lost so much during this time — so many lives shattered, relationships disintegrated, lost time with friends and family, the inability to get out and experience the world, etc. But most of all, I think we have lost our sense of security. 

I have now been vaccinated, so the anxiety of everyday existence has lessened, but there is still that niggling voice in the back of my mind that is saying, “are we safe now?” When do we overcome the fear of gathering again in ways that were common to our pre-COVID lives?  When are we comfortable meeting new people?  Do we ask if they have been vaccinated?  Are we comfortable not knowing the answer? When will we stop worrying about whether there is another variant around the corner that the vaccine did not anticipate? When do we feel okay going back into a crowded building or attending a concert inside? When do we feel comfortable just giving others a HUG?

To me, this loss of security may be the most difficult piece of this virus to eradicate.  How do we move forward and resume living a life that makes us happy and fulfilled?  I look to my sister for that inspiration.  Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, at the age of 26 with three small children, Peggy faced it head on. After a full mastectomy and chemotherapy, she went for over 10 years on a drug that worked for her.  But the past 10 years have been one “bump in the road”, as she calls it, after another.  The cancer has resurfaced in different places every couple of years and so far each time there has been a new drug or new therapy for her to try. And thankfully, each time it has been successful — until the next time.  I live with the fear that this time it will not work, and I pray, a lot!  Maybe Peggy lives with the same fear, but you would never know it.  She lives each day to the fullest, sleeps when she needs to, but is my crazy little sister the rest of the time.

You see Peggy has always been the one to push the boundaries. We all know these “life of the party” people who make us shake our heads, but we are grateful for the joy and laughter they bring.  She continues to be that person to this day, despite all she has been through.  She does not shy away from life but embraces it.  This is the attitude I hope I can adapt going forward.  I hope I can get to where I live each day to its fullest and push any lingering fear about what lies ahead to the recesses of my mind.  For only if we can move past the fear can we truly embrace life again, and each other.  

Janie Piemonte serves as Parish Administrator at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA.

P.S. Click here to check out other posts in this series!

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The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog

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