While my blog here was hibernating, the world was hit by a global pandemic. The last time something of this scale happened, as far as I know, was 1918–the Spanish Flu epidemic. Arguably, that one was a bigger deal, but this one was a big deal too. It still is. COVID-19 is a big topic. This post is an overview/thought-spill of how it unfolded for me, and how being a former Christian Scientist has shaped my experience with it.
March 17, 2020 is the day the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared, in whatever way such things are declared, here in British Columbia, Canada, where I live. The first recorded death here was of a resident at a nursing home in a suburb of Vancouver. As of this writing, COVID-19 has killed 5,061 people in British Columbia, and 50,561 in all of Canada.* It’s killed about six million worldwide.* Life hasn’t been quite the same since, although much has returned to “normal” (whatever that is) now, and I’m glad for that. Immediately, my workplace closed to the public, and many of my co-workers opted to take medical leave (which was supplemented by government benefits) or work from home options. Our office went from being a bustling hub of activity in the community to an eerily silent ghost-town. I will admit, as an introvert, I kind of liked the social isolation, and I really liked the lack of traffic and crowds early on. I missed my close friends, though, and the things we all did together.
There was a lot we didn’t know in the beginning. I remember a lot of fear and anxiety. I felt some of it, but also some of the old Christian Science-inspired ambivalence kicked in. At times, I should have been more concerned and aware than I was. I deal with two chronic health conditions that could have made COVID-19 a very rough, or even fatal ride for me if I had contracted it early on without the protection of vaccination or herd immunity. People were dying of this, and I was sort of going along as if I was going to be okay initially, just because I’m me, and shit like this doesn’t happen to me, even though I knew full-well I likely wouldn’t be at all okay if I contracted it. I still went to the office. As I look back, maybe I shouldn’t have. But, I reasoned, I had a private office, and my wife and I immediately implemented isolation. We didn’t even visit her kids who live a block away for the first few months until the public health authorities deemed it safe to socialize within a narrow and small “bubble” of family. I had a bit of, “well, maybe it won’t happen to me,” attitude. Luckily, it didn’t. But, it could have. I was lucky.
I thought often, as so many of us former Christian Scientists do in situations like this, of “what would this be like if I was still in Christian Science?” Honestly, that thought scared me as much as any thought of what might happen if I caught the damn virus. Talk about having to manage a ton of cognitive dissonance! In Christian Science, you’re taught that disease is not real, but now a disease, that is undeniable, is affecting your life. I remember the ongoing battles in my mind when I was in Christian Science between what I was taught (in Christian Science) was “real”, and what actually IS real. I can’t help but think that COVID-19 would have amped that up to stratospheric levels. I am grateful beyond words that I was long-gone from Christian Science before this hit. It was so much easier to deal with this pandemic when I could simply acknowledge that it was real–scary as it may have been. At least I didn’t have to deal with the craziness that Christian Science would have layered on.
Interestingly, and I imagine reluctantly, the Christian Science community had to acknowledge and deal with the pandemic, in such a way that they could, given that a bedrock component of their faith is to deny that the pandemic is even real. I won’t go much into that here–that’s a topic for another post or posts. I will say that, while I’m glad they weren’t stupid and obstinate about it, and they followed public health guidelines, I (and many of my fellow ex-Christian Scientists) chuckled at how the Church, Christian Science nursing facilities, and other related organizations (especially Principia school and college) had to actually deal with the reality of something that they’d just as soon deny.
My wife and I got married a few months before the pandemic hit, and we’ve both lamented that our marriage hasn’t really known anything else. She works in healthcare, and has been at the front-lines of this pandemic in our community since the beginning–she has watched people suffer and die from it. I’ve seen the emotional toll it’s taken on her and her colleagues. Because of that, I have developed a deep dislike of those who politicize and deny this pandemic. I also wonder where, in that debate, would I have found myself if my life had taken a different direction and I was still in Christian Science. I shudder at the thought.
I look back now, almost three years since this all began, and I’m grateful my wife and I have managed to get through this relatively unscathed. I will say that the nasal-swab test they made you do was a special kind of unpleasant. Neither of us have contracted COVID-19, although several family members and friends have. Luck, proper precautions, and vaccines have saved us. We are both fully vaccinated, with all recommended booster shots, and I’m happy to report that metal objects don’t stick to me as a result, and Bill Gates doesn’t give enough of a fuck about me or anyone else to have included tracking chips in the vaccine. Fair warning, if you come at me with stupid conspiracy theories, I will not honour you with a polite response. I grew up on a steady diet of bullshit as a child of Christian Scientists, so I have no tolerance for any other flavours of it. This is real. It’s killed people. Vaccines work. The Earth is NOT flat!
* These statistics were found through a Google search, conducted on February 1, 2023. The information source is Our World in Data.
Sorry you feel cheated. None of my family were Christian Scientists and you should have seen what happened to them. That is why CS was so appealing to me when I was introduced to it at 23 years old… that was 65 years ago!!! Your limited view of CS and how it has helped and healed so may is sad. You should see how the rest of the world lives. I have lived and worked in countries all over the world and have seen such tragedy. Soooo… needless to say my view is a lot different that yours!!!!!!
I don’t feel cheated, and I’m not sure where you get the idea I feel that way. The rest of your comment makes about as much sense to me as the word salad that Mary Baker Eddy and most other Christian Scientists spew out. However, as I’ve said to you before, I’m happy for you that Christian Science seems to be the thing for you. If it brings you happiness, I’m glad for you.
I read and reread your comment and to be honest I’m not clear about what you shared.
If you could share some examples of how CS has helped you, that would help.
We all have our own stories, our own journeys and for me CS was not a fit for me.
I witnessed too many traumatic experiences with CS that could’ve been prevented.
I was a class taught student of CS…and yet my intuition and common sense finally took over and I’m so grateful for that.
Ha ha…your last sentence reminds me of how my parents always used to say that, “CS stands for ‘common sense’ as well as ‘Christian Science.'” Evidence, logic, and common sense showed me so clearly that CS is BS.