REV OLIVER COSS COLUMN: Dreaded Covid truly comes home

At the moment, my poor wife has the look of a character near the end of one of those horror films where members of the cast are picked off one-by-one, by whatever hairy beast is pursuing them, writes Rev Oliver Coss.

By Graham Tebbutt (Edited by)
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 10:43 am
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 10:44 am
The Coss household has been hit by double-red virus results
The Coss household has been hit by double-red virus results

Over the last six days, daughter one, then daughter two, and then (this morning) me have all tested positive for Covid, and all exhibited an exciting (but generally mild, so far) array of symptoms, shades of red line on our Lateral Flow Tests, and a strange, black humour about it all.

If you’ve had a household of Covid at some point (perhaps multiple points) over the last 22 months, then you’ll know how time-consuming all this is, meaning that Graham – who works for the Chron and is responsible for creating order from the small choir of columnists (and in which he is doubtless a patient and forbearing soul) – has had to prompt me for this late and hastily-written script.

Somehow, despite the fact that we’ve had little time off or away from work since the pandemic began, this is something that we had managed to avoid at The Rectory.

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Our children, as the offspring of a priest and a teacher, have mostly been in school; we have mostly been doing what we do; and had somehow come to the conclusion that the ‘medicinal’ red wine (apparently it really is good against Covid!) we’ve been taking was doing its job, alongside the masks, jabs and care that we’d been trying to take.

It’s a long time to wait for something to happen, and we know that people ahead of us in the Covid queue have a variety of experiences.

We have lost people, we have seen people changed by the disease, or by the public health measures that have been so disruptive; we’ve seen people have their jabs and refuse their jabs, and have experienced with others the side-effects from vaccination that range from a bit of a headache to something much more serious.

And what you realise when you’re peering at your double-red LFT is that phrases like ‘most people’, ‘generally mild’, and the like aren’t actually very reassuring.

We all read newspapers and watch TV, and I guess we all know what we hope for, but we all know someone who has not been as lucky.

God-willing, and with much prayer and support inside and from beyond our home, I have much faith that we’ll pass through this time of being locked up, feeling as it does a little too much like other times in the recent past when we’ve been told to ‘stay at home’ but with a few more bits of life that need reorganising.

I remember vividly a prayer that we used right the way through the first lockdowns, that was among the prayers that the Church of England published.

It acknowledged that the pandemic left people anxious and distressed in parts, but the word that always stuck out was ‘uncertainty’.

It always seemed most significant to me, as it wasn’t about anything specific, or any pain, or challenge, or hardship that you could put your finger on. It simply arose from all those questions to which the answer was – for perhaps more time than we’ve ever been comfortable with – ‘I don’t know’.

I’ll leave you with its words in the hope that uncertainty and distress is for you more fleeting than lingering, and hope to be on better form next time:

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.