For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” — Psalm 31:13-14
Since 1992, when I started working in the hospital, first as a student and then as a nurse, I knew that times like the ones we are going through could come.
Each shift, we are in direct contact with many types of bacteria and viruses, but nothing has thrown us into confusion like this Sars-Cov2.
Fear. A word that in all these years of nursing career I have never experienced. Fear around me. Fear not for myself, but for my family who has not chosen this profession. Fear for my elderly and distant parents. Fear in people’s eyes. Fear when people treat you like the one who is carrying the virus around. Fear in the eyes of colleagues. Fear in doctors who, usually, do not wear masks and always behave boldly in front of any isolation we put in place, but who, suddenly, are in a frantic search for masks and use of hand sanitizer gel. Fear, because we don’t have the right PPE (personal protective equipment).
Terrible statistics: infections, deaths, coffins, insufficient beds in intensive care, insufficient ventilators, quarantine. Applause from the balconies … suddenly we are the heroes of the situation. Wash your hands to the limit. The skin that breaks from too much use of hand sanitizer. Is your throat burning from coronavirus or the many disinfectants we breathe? Computers, telephones, electromedical devices disinfected so often and with so much care.
Fear of approaching patients. Learn to touch them with gloves (preferably double). Smile from behind a mask, hoping they can see that smile in your eyes. The days of comforting through a hug are over. Social distancing! How many things have changed. And this unexpected change, difficult to manage, throws everyone into confusion.
In the midst of this chaos, suddenly, there is fear that leaves room to a deep peace. Those who know me professionally know how much I can manage to remain calm, even in the most tragic situations, but I have never experienced such calm—a peace that goes beyond any reasonable explanation and understanding. Not because I know the enemy and I know how to fight it or how to protect myself, but because I know so well my God, who has promised to be with me wherever I go, who has promised He will never leave me and will never abandon me.
My prayer since the beginning of this pandemic has been the one of Francis of Assisi: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” God has answered: “I leave you peace; I give you my peace. Do not let your heart be troubled or dismayed.” (John 14:27)
How will it end? Nobody knows. But one thing I know for sure, that God is and will be with me in any circumstance, in any situations, in any moment of my life.t
This article is written by Vania Fink, she is a member of the Church of the Nazarene in Florence, Italy.
This article was previously published in the May 2020 edition of Where Worlds Meet.