It is virtually a cliché to moan that this COVID-19 Season has been a diseased bull in our composed china closet. How many long-planned things have been cancelled? Or ambiguously “delayed”?

The extreme cost and insane focus of 21st-century weddings — cancelled. Graduations and all the attendant celebrations — cybered. Occupations and economic certainty — cancelled. Vacations (like mine this year) simply voided. Seeing those you love is now through screens — only. Church services are a danger. Weekends, as intervals of time different from the rest of the week, have not happened in almost half a year. Face-to-face meetings with coworkers and clients? They’ve been Zoomed away.

In short, we have lost control. We thought we were victorious in May, only to realize the COVID-19 monster was a hydra. Our skirmish has become trench warfare now and we won’t be home for Christmas. Can you remember when we called ourselves heroes for ordering takeout? It seems so long ago.

We have taken the measure of our inabilities and willful adaptation, but we do not plan. We adapt to this “new normal” of death avoidance and maximize what we can in the process. The fear of death is our constant companion and it determines our daily lives, worldwide. We are beyond our ability to control anything, and we are being controlled by a reality we do not understand.

Babies die from COVID, while 103-year-olds survive it. Nurses are surrounded by it for months and months with no effect, and sequestering, hand-washing, disinfecting germophobes are its victim.

I am so out of control that praying is an afterthought. I react. I respond. I think of life in a confined, limited context. I, like almost everyone I know, have a life mission of finding and living out “The Right Thing To Do.” Not morally, but in self-preservation — with the collateral benefit of not endangering others. Everything else has been cancelled, so I clutch at “The Right Thing” as our governments, our research, our communities define it.

In defining “The Right Thing,” where is God? We are kept out of the places we built for Him, so where do I go to be with Him? Has God been cancelled along with our sports seasons?

Does God endorse the anger that I feel towards the unmasked (or the masked)? Is God ambivalent when I say, “Oh well,” and write a check for causes I cannot aid in person? More to the point — Is God there when I just cannot tune into a hymn-less, human-less, space-less Zoom “service”?

Of course He is.

But it is truly a pain for those of us fully engaged in 21st-century living. The joy and glee of those inveighing against the “superiority” of wearing masks (and now face shields) is not just galling in its preachy guilt-tripping. It is maddeningly human. “The Right Thing” may become our thing, but it is the essence of humans to find virtue in hopeless certainty. It might even make matters worse for everyone in the long run.

Transactional correctness is fully defensible, but it has no greater reward than being Right. The imperious judgments of “At least he wore a mask,” or “She deserved to get COVID-19,” or “The arrogant, mask-less jackass!” — even to the point of death. Keeping score is a way of life. A meaningless waste of life. Because life was given to us, not constructed by defensible acts and values. We may viciously protect what we have been given, but it is not ours. We may score our own and others’ lives, but God does not.

Where is God in all this?

I think God is right there, looking at me if I can see him. This COVID-19 season has disabled us, laying bare our asinine entitlements and scaring the hell out of us. The pandemic’s method of control is a Cancel Culture of what we supposedly knew to be right, essential, and beneficial. In a house fire we only run for our children.

Just like in every other moment of existence, death is the alternative to life. Most of us do our best to avoid that reality, we reason it into either righteous religion or self-serving justifications. But die we must. The COVID-19 Season is just the starkest way of dying most of us have experienced. In the process of trying to control death, we have relinquished control of our lives.

That might be the definition of having Jesus in our lives.

This Season, it has become undeniably clear that everything we create can be cancelled. Was it ever any different?