By Alise Weber…I am writing this one day after testing positive for Covid-19.  I don’t know why, but I feel shame and guilt.

For nine months, the world has been trying to avoid Covid-19 and now that I have become the diseased, I suddenly feel like the world is trying to avoid me too. There is instant scrutiny of your whereabouts for the past two weeks and the requirement that for your children to be absent from school for weeks.

Event my oldest daughter commented that she didn’t want to join her class online because she didn’t want her peers to know her parents had Covid. I even joked that we had our very own Weber leper colony. A bad joke, but I sure feel like an outcast.

The day I found out I had Covid, I wearily sent a message to a group of friends that I had asked to pray for me. We were supposed to go out for coffee the week prior, but I had cancelled saying I wasn’t feeling well and was going to get a Covid test instead. I had relayed to my friends that I had lost my sense of taste and smell and that it didn’t look good. They had responded with encouragement and had checked up on me while I was waiting for the results.

The leper finally sent a group text telling everyone that I had indeed tested positive for Covid. After clicking “Send,” I waited. It wasn’t long before I started receiving text after text telling me that they were praying for my family and me, as well as offering to run errands. One friend asked if I needed meals. I wasn’t bedridden, but I thought it might be nice to rest in the evenings rather than worry about a meal, so I responded, “Yes.” In less than a minute, I had meals for the week.

My husband will verify that I found him quickly after those text messages and there were tears in my eyes of gratitude, love, and disbelief. There are tears in my eyes as I write this now. I still feel alone in this fight, but then I remind myself that my friends cared about my family and me enough to support us when we needed it most.

When I think of Jesus’ life on earth, I remember that he made a point of looking for the outcasts, the sick, and the downtrodden of the world. He ate with Zacchaeus, the tax collector, healed the blind, befriended prostitutes, and made a point of revealing who He was to the rejected woman at the well.  He was their hope and light and I can imagine that they must have felt a lot like I did when, instead of judgment He, like my friends, stood by them when they needed it most.

I am not over Covid, but I am on my way.  This experience reminds me that there are a lot of people in the world who need to feel the light, hope, and love of Christ and it has taught me that being the hands and feet of Jesus can be as simple as bringing hot meals to a friend’s doorstep when they are feeling ill–and it can be so much more. In this world full of tension and strife, I think we need the joy of Jesus Christ more than ever. I hope we can all look for those that need that hope the most. Let’s be the light!

Update: My husband and I were diagnosed with Covid-19 at the end of October. Since then, we have recovered and our whole family is healthy and well.

–Alise Weber is pastor of family ministry and children at Littleton Church.