One thing Joey will never again take for granted, is the ability to get up and go to work.
He is one of the lucky ones. Or unlucky depending on how you look at it. He contracted the Coronavirus, and with God’s grace, he survived.
Now Joey is trying figuring out how to move forward after being shockingly shoved backward.
He started in what he supposes is the usual way. With gratitude for having been spared his life. For being able to breathe effortlessly. For the ability to leave his room and walk outside. For being able to see people dressed only in the clothes on their back without layers of protective gowns, slippers, gloves, caps, masks, and shields.
All this, he will never forget.
But how is he to live with the memories, beat back the fear and square things with God who went missing in his darkest hours?
One step at a time, he reminds himself. He decides to begin with a return to normalcy, the new normal. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Joey’s job is gone. He worked security for big venue events. He was the guy in a black windbreaker standing outside the gates at the ballpark or weaving through the crowds at a rock concert. Wherever tens of thousands of people gathered, Joey was there. Not anymore.
He will find a new profession, one with opportunities right now, not some unknown time in the future. He will get a job he can begin right away. Who’s hiring?
He applies at FedEx, and he gets the job: warehouse package handler, part-time, early shift: 5:30 am – 10:30 am. Joey trades in his black windbreaker for the purple and orange colors of his new employer. It’s his first step. He’s thrilled.
Waking up to report for work is a Godsend. After so many months of being sick and helpless, Joey is healthy and useful once more. He gets a thrill just from getting dressed and ready for a productive day ahead. Without even noticing, his mind starts to murmur, thank you God, over and over again. It’s a fifteen-minute drive to the warehouse and, every minute of his commute is spent being thankful. He walks through the door of his new workplace with a full heart and a determined spirit.
Joey is doing well at Fed-Ex. He’s appreciated for his work ethic and noticed by his supervisors. They offer him full-time hours. He joyfully accepts. He loves his work – even better than his security job.
He’s ready for the next step to a new normal. When Joey got sick, his girlfriend bailed. He had no time to be lonely when he was fighting for his life. And now, since he’s well, he feels the loss.
How does a single guy begin dating these days? He’s not about to hang out in a crowded bar; partying seems irresponsible. He tenses up at the thought of looking for love on an app. Zoom dating is not for him. Definitely not. Joey can imagine a scenario where the conversation turns to the virus, and he is discussing his frightening health history with a total stranger.
As it turns out, he meets someone nice at his new job. Amy trains the forklift operators, and Joey is learning a new skill. They click instantly.
Things are going well for Joey. He’s ready to take yet another step forward from his fear, doubt, and despair when he realizes; all three have vanished.
He moves on to his other issue, the one that haunted him when he was sick. He kept asking an unanswered question, where are you, God? It became evident, since his recovery, God was with him then, God is here now, and God will be here in his future. He regained his faith, and it came back with tremendous force.
The plan Joey so carefully follows is a success. He realizes that one step at a time is a two-step process: Plan to do it and do it. It covers all the bases.
Some people wait for good fortune to happen, without the work. Others try to get past their past without a plan, yet the plan is the point.
But Joey has a plan, and God has a plan for Joey. It’s not a tragedy that Joey got sick, nor is it a miracle that he got well. It’s simply everything falling into place, precisely as God intended.