I write this on day sixty-four. Sixty-four days of a mandate to “flatten the curve” of the Corona Virus by staying home.
As mandated, we began this experience of sheltering in place. Businesses, schools and churches were closed. Many companies directed employees to begin working from home. Others were furloughed or terminated. Sporting events, concerts, conventions, meetings, and travel all came to a halt. There would be no celebratory ceremonies for 2020 graduates and only online classes for the fall semester in sight. The economy is in shambles with 39 million Americans out of work. Yes, many are ill with the virus. Many more have recovered, but there have been many deaths as well-over 95,000 nation wide.
This pandemic has brought our world to its knees. We’ve been directed to enact social distancing, copious hand washing and disinfecting and to only leave our own homes for absolute essentials such as food and urgent medical needs.
The experts continually contradict each other. The politicians tell us one thing today and edit it tomorrow. We should wear masks and they’re useless. We should stay in and we should pursue herd immunity, we need sunshine but the parks are closed. The “experts” are clearly figuring it out as they go along. Nursing homes in one major city were ordered to admit recovering Covid patients despite the fact that their general populations consisted of the frailest and most fragile individuals and highly susceptible to infection. The results were disatrous. In my own city, last I heard, 80% of all deaths were nursing home patients.
Toilet paper has become the new currency with beans, disinfectants, paper towels and now meat in short supply. We are required to wear masks when entering stores after standing in lines for the privilege of shopping. Stores have set up plexiglass barriers between employees and shoppers as well as marks on the floor designed to tell us where to stand while waiting in line so as to maintain appropriate distancing.
Restaurants, like other businesses have either closed or are allowed only to provide pick up or delivery options. Many of them will never reopen if the so-called “new normal” mandates are required. They cannot survive if only allowed to serve half the customers they have room for when they’re paying rent for a larger space intended to accomodate more. Walmart, Target, Home Depot and the big grocery chains are still open, but the mom and pops and other small businesses have been forced to close their doors.
For the first time in history, the healthy are being quarantined. Those who say its time to open up the world again are accused of wanting people to die. Those who believe we need to stay hunkered down at home beleive to do so will bring a new surge of infection and death.
There is little talk of finding a cure, but a lot about a coming vaccine that may well not be optional. We we’ve been told that ventilators would be in short supply but that didn’t materialize. Instead, hospitals are now laying off physicians, nurses and other staff because their censuses are so low. All elective and non-emergency surgeries have been put on hold. Many illnesses are not being diagnosed or treated currently. There are those who believe a vaccine is the answer. Others point to hydroxychloroquine, a medication costing less than a dollar that has had good results. Again, experts around the world disagree.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know Who does. I am definitely not an expert, but I have tried to listen to both sides and come to my own conclusions. I must say it isn’t easy to hear both sides because the national media hasn’t reported on those with differing opinions and social media doesn’t allow what differs from their perspective or agenda to remain online for long. What are they afraid of? Are we not capable of drawing our own conclusions?
Here’s what I do know. Suicide hotlines are jammed. Businesses are failing. Families can’t pay their mortgages or put food on their tables. Domestic abuse is increasing. Alcohol intake is on the rise. Depression is rampant. Anxiety is out of control. Social isolation has rendered many seniors profoundly lonely without physical touch or comfort. Many believe that all of these factors are pointing to a national mental health crisis. Clearly, the virus isn’t the only thing wreaking havoc on our population. We need to address all of these issues and soon.
I sincerely believe that it’s time to return to life largely as we knew it sixty-four days ago. Young, healthy, able bodied individuals need to get back to work, kids need to return to school and churches reopen. More importantly, we need to acknowledge and turn our eyes to the One who holds the universe in His hands.
You may well disagree with me and I’m okay with that. I understand the power of fear and how very convincing the fear mongers have been. I will willingly wear a mask in your presence if it brings you peace of mind. I will wear one when I shop as required where I live. I respect that you may think me foolish or uninformed. I have listened to both sides and engaged in discussions with those with opposing views, but in the end, there are “experts” on both sides of the divide, and I hold to the fact that good, smart people can disagree. I’ve landed where I’ve landed and hold no malice toward any of you who have landed elsewhere.
No, I don’t want people to die. And no, it’s not about going to the beach. It’s not even about my personal comfort or financial needs. If I’m sick I’ll stay home and I hope you will too. I understand if you feel safer at home and won’t mock you for choosing to do what you believe is best. I will be a good neighbor, friend and citizen and will be respectful of the authorities over me. But I will not live in fear of speaking what I believe. I am not a hater.
I am going to continues to practice good hygiene. I’ll respect those in authority as well as those who may vehemently disagree with me. I’m going to hold and hug my grandchildren and spend time with those I love. I’m going to continue to honor and stay in relationship with those who choose to remain socially distant regardless of their reasons. I’m going to continue praying for health and healing. I will respect the opinions of those who differ from mine. God gave us all minds so that we could seek His wisdom and discernment. When we do, we will make the best decisions we can with the information we are given. That’s what I aim for.
I trust that my God, who created this universe, has His purposes in allowing this plague to exist. It is obvious that many of us have come to grips with the fact that despite our bank accounts, homes, jobs, education, accomplishments, fame, credentials and belief in our ability to handle anything that comes our way, we’ve seen that in a moment everything can change. With it, we’ve been forced to acknowledge that we literally have no control. Hence, we look to the One who has all control. I’ve always said He will go to any lengths necessary to get our attention. Does He have yours?
God has appointed a day for each of us to be born and a day for us to die. We don’t know either before hand. What we do in between those two dates matters to Him. Where our hope lies matters to Him. The experts have not been 100% convincing on either side. My confidence doesn’t lie with any of them, but in the message of an old hymn written by one Edward Mote nearly a century ago:
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweeetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.”