By Robbie Owens

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Even time seems to pass differently, with COVID-19 in control, has it really been just 8 months since this virus turned life as we knew it upside down? Yes.

Just ask the Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, Rector at Fort Worth’s Trinity Episcopal church. He was one of North Texas’ first confirmed diagnoses, telling CBS 11 during an April interview “When people try to say ‘this is like the flu, but a little worse’…this is like the flu and then you think you’re going to die…”

READ MORE: Police: 1 Deputy Killed, 2 Wounded In Ambush At Texas Bar

Rev. Pace survived– but, says it was months before he fully recovered physically. Even now, like most of us, he’s managing the emotional toll.

“I think that’s really important to acknowledge,” says Rev. Pace, “This is hard not to be close to everyone at this time. It’s just hard.”

And yet he says surviving a disease that in 8 short months has sickened more than 240,000 North Texans according to state health statistics, also gives him perspective. An estimated 21,000 have died statewide.

So, yes, he is grateful to have his health– but, that’s just the start.

READ MORE: Man Shot By Grand Prairie Officers After Ramming Into Police Vehicles

“I look at the news and I watch all these people who are doing little things that make a difference in the world– and I am so grateful! That’s how we are making it in this time of difficulty.”

He says his personal journey with COVID-19 will absolutely influence his Thanksgiving message to his congregation– and he’s also encouraging gratitude and heeding health directives as a well-timed message for the larger community.

“I think it is so important that we take all of those precautions: that we wear masks, physically distance… and that is one of the ways that we do this together and we take care of one another.”

In spite of the COVID-19 fatigue, the bigger picture, he says is making it through this pandemic.

“And we will get through this,” says Rev. Pace. “We really will.”

MORE NEWS: Appeals Court Ruling Keeps Abortion Ban In Place In Texas

MORE FROM CBSDFW