Yes, I had Covid. And it was awful.
I mean, I am being a bit dramatic. I wasn’t hospitalised or surrounded my loved ones saying goodbyes (my mom is also too extra for that).
But it was awful. This blog isn’t about the pains I experienced, or the unstable body temperature, or any of my symptoms for that matter.
This is a blog about how Covid contributed to my perspective of God.
I think the first thought I had as I progressively started to feel worse was:
“I’ll pull through, it’s just gonna be like a cold.”
And found myself to be oh so wrong.
The first two days consisted of aches which became debilitating pains. I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t move but the pain made me want to move. I can’t liken it to anything else I experienced. I was also coughing blood. Cheyenne Darko, a woman of many hats, often described to be “running around London like a headless chicken”, was stationary. As a journalist, just the thought of staying in one place is excruciating painful for me in itself. But to experience physical pain on top of that was a cruel torment.
I became a lot more aware of my limitations. If we’re being morbid, it reminded me of my mortality.
When I couldn’t move and even the light on my phone at its lowest setting was too bright for my eyes, I just prayed to God for all of the people with chronic pain who experience this without end. I barely made it through 24 hours.
But I also reconciled my inability to move with my day-to-day life, and realised that the source of life and power that I have to do what I do doesn’t come from me. I am not strong enough. I am not resilient enough. I am not smart enough. I am not even breathing at my own command. It’s like my life is a single thread and God’s holding it. If He wanted to, He could cut it. That’s a terrifying thought.
But it’s also quite comforting. I don’t have to fight for my life. I don’t have to fight for a living. I don’t have to strive for anything. My goal is no longer to strengthen that thread, but to appeal to the One holding it. And the One who’s holding it is, in my experience, benevolent and faithful to His promises.
I had to accept help from others.
I was humbled. It made me cringe every time I had to ask people to get shopping for me, or vitamins, or water, or even just to pray for me. I struggled to take flowers from my partner.
I needed the help but I hated the pity. I also hated the idea of someone having power over me.
But I’ve realised that I don’t have to see someone doing things for me as having power over me. From young, I saw men use gifts as a way to control women or hold things over them. I saw friends helping friends out for personal gain. In fact, I almost took my own life in my teens because I strongly believed that love was not real and that everyone in my life was present out of obligation, manipulation or pity. It has taken this short term sickness and fellowship with other believers to unravel that. It took my partner just showing me love and affection and never reminding me of it or lording it over me for me to see that the world’s model of giving is marred, but not beyond repair.
It’s possible to give from a place of love and genuine care for people. And it’s possible, dare I say essential, that I accept from people so that I can learn what it means to give of yourself in love and do the same. In fact, I go to Grace London on Sundays, and in yesterday’s sermon, Jeremy Moses said that when you’re rejecting help or gifts from others, you are robbing them of the opportunity to practice their faith. To love God and others is the Christian’s chief mission. I’ve realised that I can’t be the only one giving, but I need to receive also, so that I’m not an empty cup.
I have a heart of thankfulness.
As I mentioned before, I wasn’t hospitalised or surrounded my loved ones saying goodbyes (my mom is just too extra for that). Seriously, I am not only alive but I am living.
I put journalism to the side and only give it two days of my time in a week, and got a part-time retail job so that I could pursue the craft without financial worries. I love journalism. But it is not my God.
I make time for my loved ones. No more “Sorry, I’m just writing this article. I’ll call later.” We will call now and we will say all of the things we want to say to each other, be it important heart-to-heart conversations or some silly dating stories. It all matters so much and I need to make everyone in my life feel seen and heard.
I don’t let pride stop me from being lavished with love. I take my partner’s weekly flowers. I let him take me out for dinner and get the bill. I let my friends get things from the supermarket for me if needed. I talk about tough times in my bible study group chat and allow myself to be surrounded by the most amazing people who I know are praying for me and encouraging me with scripture.
I am Cheyenne Darko, a woman of many hats. But those hats come from the same milliner. The milliner is God. And I make time for that milliner to discuss the design and shape. Ultimately, I recognise that I am not the professional to do it by myself and trust that milliner to serve my best interests.