Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine flu turf war

Paleeeeeeze tell me that this swine flu thing is going to be over soon! I just saw this internet headline that said "Swine Flu May be Less Potent Than First Believed"

No matter, though, because panic is everywhere.

(Yet I know much of this is driven by the mass media. How is it that suddenly the situation of the economy is less grave now that we have a better story to get hysterical about? It reminds me of hurricane season ... when there's a hurricane in the gulf, suddenly no one is dying in Iraq. The media gets to decide what is and isn't news, people, come on! But ohhhh, how I digress!)

Two schools in the area have closed down because of one case of swine flu in the student population. One case! None of my kids' schools have closed yet, but if they do, uh! I will be very annoyed.

Annoyance with what "might happen" at my kids' school is one thing ... but now it's invading my turf. Now it's getting personal.

I got an email about an hour ago from the volunteer coordinator at one of the drug rehab facilities where our church has an outreach ministry. I knew the news was not good when I saw the subject line: "Lock down of Santa Maria facilities." It seems that to prevent any of the 90+ women who reside at this facility from contracting swine flu, they were putting the facility on lock down. That means no one from the outside comes in and no one from the inside comes out.

Translation: the ladies will not be allowed to attend church on Sunday and my team will not be allowed to come in to teach class on Monday.

I have earned a reputation for being ... um ... tenacious?? So of course I emailed the powers that be and challenged them on this decision. After I received a reply, I emailed again, raising more arguments. I even cc'd the "big gun," the facility's executive director, asking, among other questions, "So then will you also quarantine the staff and shut down new admissions, as it seems these people pose as great a threat to bringing swine flu into the facility as any member of my ministry team does?...." (This is a potentially dangerous move on my part, as the big gun could shut me down with one imperial declaration of "enough!")

When I told my husband what was going on, he shrugged and said, "Well, it will go away in a couple weeks." That may be true, but I am not any less outraged. I know this sounds presumptuous, but it really, really bothers me to think we will not have access to the ladies this week; and they will not have access to us. It's just not right.

Just last week, one of my team members said a woman said to her, "You have no idea what it means that you would take the time to come here and talk to me."

Is our ministry team and our church the only means by which these women can experience the presence of God? (Would I dare to put God in a box in such a manner?) No, of course not. But it is a very good means. A beneficial means. A significant means.

There are six women "lined up" to renew their baptism vows for this Sunday alone. Are you going to tell me God is not moving through this ministry?

OK, OK, I will calm down -- a little. I will also pray, though, and continue to push the envelope on my end. I'm not too worried that the staff will have any kind of catastrophic reaction to yet another example of me being pushy or determined. After all, my reputation precedes me.


Erica said...

I feel for you Tammy. This swine flu frenzy seems so blown out of proportion. I'll be praying for you and the women of Santa Maria.

Tammy said...

Thanks. Everytime SM does something like this, I argue and argue with them. I know they think I am obnoxious, but ... they also recognize that the ministry really does make a difference. They are trapped ... ha ha!