Once Upon a Pandemic
by Anna Brink
Once upon a time, there was a worldwide pandemic. As one would expect, it was unexpected. The world’s leaders worked hard, day and night, to figure out the best ways to keep people healthy. In the meantime, the government asked everyone to stay in their homes in order to prevent the spread.
There was a woman who was staying at home, watching the news and praying. On the first day at home, she heard a knock at the door. From a window, she could see who it was: Anxiety. She wasn’t surprised to see him. He knocked on her door often. She sighed, then opened the door.
“Hello, I’m here! Let me in, won’t you? This pandemic is crazy, right? We have so much to process together!” Anxiety said.
“Well, that’s true,” the woman answered, and she led the way to the kitchen table, where they immediately started talking about all of the what ifs of this pandemic.
Time flew by and several hours later, she heard another knock at the door. This time she was surprised. Who could it be? She considered ignoring it because she had so much more to process with her current guest, and anyway, what if this new guest had the virus?
But the gentle knocking continued. So the woman got up from the kitchen table to answer the door. To her surprise, it was a face she hadn’t seen in a while. But he looked familiar.
“Hello again! Thanks so much for answering the door. I’ve been knocking on several doors that haven’t opened, and you are the first one.”
She squinted her eyes, studying him. “Oh! Opportunity, right?”
“Yes! That’s me!” he answered.
“But, why are you here, right now? I don’t think this is a good time for me. Maybe later, when things calm down.”
He paused, then looked at her with sincerity and a bit of urgency in his eyes, “I know this may seem like strange timing, but I have so many wonderful things to talk with you about, actually to give you, just for this time. This time exactly.”
She hesitated, considering his words. She could hear Anxiety getting up from the kitchen table to join the conversation. “Um, just one minute, OK? Wait right here,” she said, closing the door.
“Who is it? Who would be here at a time like this?” Anxiety asked indignantly.
“It’s Opportunity. He says he has some timely things to talk to me about.”
“Are you kidding me? Geez. Some people,” he replied. “He probably just wants to sell you something. You know, people right now are taking advantage of the situation.”
The woman paused, “Well, I don’t know. He seemed sincere. And I have been praying. I think I’ll let him in and see what he has to say.”
Anxiety groaned and crossed his arms as she opened the door.
“Well,” she said, “Why don’t you come in, Opportunity? For a little while? I have Anxiety here too, so we can all talk together.”
“Oh,” he replied, “No . . . thank you, but that won’t work.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“Well, can I talk to you privately for a moment?” As he said this, Anxiety raised his eyebrows with a knowing look.
“Um, sure,” she said, stepping out onto the front porch, then turning to Anxiety to gesture “just one minute.” He rolled his eyes and didn’t move from the spot.
Almost in a whisper, she said to Opportunity, “So, what is it?”
“Anxiety and I can’t stay in the same place. It just doesn’t work.”
“But he was here first,” the woman replied.
“True . . .” Opportunity thought for a moment. “Let me ask you this: Is he helping you?”
The woman considered this. “Hmm, well, yes, I mean . . . The future is so unclear, and there’s so much to figure out. He’s helping me process all of it.”
“Have you come to any conclusions?” He asked.
“Well, not yet, I guess. But I’m sure if we just keep talking and listening to all of the things the news is saying, and the radio, and my friends, and social media, and talking about all of it, we’ll come up with the best answers . . . Right?” she answered.
Opportunity sighed, putting one hand on her shoulder and looking straight into her eyes. “I know it seems like you will, but you won’t.”
“I don’t understand,” she said. “I’ve been praying for answers, and he’s here, and you’re here too, and how can that be?”
“Sometimes when you’re putting a puzzle together, there are two pieces that look very similar. They both look like they will fit, but, they don’t,” he said gently. “So, you have to stop trying to force the look-alike into the spot and choose the other one. The look-alike leads to frustration . . .”
His voice trailed off, and the woman picked up where he left off, “And the other one actually completes the picture?”
“Yes!” he said, excitedly. “So please, will you let me come in? There’s so much I have for you. So many blessings. I don’t want you to miss out.”
“Miss out on what? I’m just stuck in my house right now. It’s awful. There’s nothing to do but wait.”
“Oh, but there is. There are special moments with your family that could only happen under these strange circumstances! Conversations with your kids, and husband, and neighbors! There are assignments for you that have been destined for this time. And there are other things too—things that you don’t even know about yet. The Father is very creative—you should see all of the amazing plans he has for you!”
She stared at him with wide eyes, his excitement contagious. But almost immediately, a thought shaded her optimism, “I don’t think Anxiety is going to leave easily. Trust me, he’s stubborn. He’ll find some reason to stay.”
“Oh I know it. He will probably keep knocking too. At least for a while. But I’ve seen this before—if you and I really start to talk, especially with the Father in on it, Anxiety will realize that there’s no place for him here and leave.”
And so, the woman turned to go back into her home. She knew it could be a daily, even hourly battle, keeping Anxiety out so that she could host Opportunity. But she had a feeling that this was the real piece to the puzzle she had been praying about.
What will you choose when Anxiety and Opportunity come knocking at your door?
Anna Brink discovered her love for writing in her junior high years. While raising two daughters and a son, she loves to contribute to imom.com and textingthetruth.com.