What do I say about this period in our lives? How can I go about communicating anything when I don’t even know what I think?
I know I’m afraid. I know I’m angry that we were deceived for so long…losing precious time to lay the foundation for a plan that might keep so many more of us alive than in the situation we face currently. I’m furious over that…truly.
I’m also profoundly sad that so many of us had already become experts at self-isolation: living behind computer screens, texting while driving, endlessly sending messages back and forth rather than talking to each other. So many of us staring into cell phones like they held out the hope for something better…someone more interesting to talk to than the people we were sitting opposite at the dinner table. We have become a world of what I like to call ‘Narcissistic-Introverts.’ Posing for a multitude of selfies in the bathroom — while having almost a complete inability to connect to people in person. Merely waiting for a chance to jump into a conversation so we can hear ourselves speak…rather than listening to what is going on inside the hearts of the people we supposedly love.
Then I think…What was all that alienation FOR if not training for this situation in which we find ourselves? Yet so many of those same people are the ones who ridicule the guidelines that have been put in place for our safety. The mega-churches that refused to halt services, putting thousands in their congregations at risk while spouting that God will protect His favorites…(meaning, of course, them). Or college students taking off for Spring Break on the beach, getting drunk and proudly sneering for the cameras, “If I get Corona…so what?”
Do you want to look back for the rest of your life knowing that you killed your new-born baby sister? Or your own grandmother? Do you want to lie on a gurney in the hallway of a hospital overrun with patients all begging for the same 4 ventilators? Do you want to be that person? I know these people think this could never happen to them…or to anyone else they care about.
The thing I keep hearing over and over is “It’s only old people and people with pre-existing conditions.” Well, let me tell you what pre-existing conditions are: people with diabetes or heart issues, people with high blood pressure or auto-immune diseases, sure. But also mothers who have just given birth, babies who have just been born, people living with cancer, people who’ve had chemo, people with the flu or asthma. THOSE are the people being put at risk.
And if that doesn’t scare you enough, try this on. Once those ventilators are all in use, once the hospitals are overrun, it’s all of us — ALL OF US who are in danger. If we get hit by a car, fall down the stairs, get sick or hurt in an accident. ANY of us could die because there are no beds available.
SO, HOW DO WE TURN THIS AROUND???
We need to stop living from a place of greed and start living for each other. We need to pay attention to the stories about how the Venice canals are so clear and undisturbed right now that you can finally see fish in the water…and dolphins playing at the base of the hotels.
We need to pay attention to the satellite images that show China for the first time in decades without a cloud of pollution choking the entire country and all the people in it. We need to pay attention to how much damage we’ve been doing to this earth by being thoughtless with our consumption and our garbage.
We should give credit where it’s due. It wouldn’t hurt to think for a minute about where we would be right now without the people who we normally write off as minimum wage workers: the grocery checkers and shelf stockers, the truck drivers and cleaning crews.
Trying to home-school your children should give you a deeper appreciation for their teachers. After all, they had to reinvent an entire educational system overnight.
We need to be praying for doctors and nurses who are literally putting their lives on the line, exposing themselves to the infected day after day, working long past exhaustion.
In short…We need to remember who has taken care of us during this time…and who has just taken.
We need to start thinking of how we can contribute to the world, rather than complaining that we deserve better than the person next to us because we’re special. I got news for you…everyone is special.
We need to learn to be softer, kinder and more grateful. We need to call our older neighbors and ask them if they need anything. We need to offer to foster or even better, adopt a pet while we are home every day to train them, and get them acclimated to a life of love.
We need to LEARN from this pandemic…NOT merely survive it.
There. I’m off my soapbox. But before I go, I want to ask you one question.
What is one thing that you can do…to ease someone’s burden?