Yesterday I took my first steps beyond the front porch in several days.
With so much shut down and hourly news coverage of the Coronavirus Pandemic, I didn't want to go out, but I did anyway. With every touch, I sanitized. I didn't really talk to anyone and stayed in my lane. We needed supplies and many shelves were still bare. It's more than a little crazy, so I understand why people are acting… well, a little crazy. Grabbed my cart from the grocery and gave it a good wipe down only to have a gray-faced man grab the next one with no cares and a look at me like I was… well, a little crazy.
I'm not a young man anymore, so I have to remind myself I'm at a higher risk than ever before. I guess it comes along with the scars, the aches, pains, and reading glasses. I don't remember giving past pandemics much of a thought, SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009 or even Ebola in 2014, as scary as it sounded. I do remember a bit of consternation for a while until more was known about AIDS. Youthful exuberance is often difficult to contain. My father survived Tuberculosis and my mother Polio, why I was so cavalier, I do not know.
As all of us, I've been through my fair share of scrapes and tight spots over the years. But, I'll save those stories for another time.
Because, this… feels different.
Today, both my wife Eva and I talked about feeling tired all the time.
It's the stress we decided. I've turned off the news and put on music instead. Fundamentally, I know most of us will come through this just fine, but I worry about the margins. Many of my friends are older and some at high risk. Many have small businesses that are also in a high risk category.
Two nights ago, I had a nightmare. It woke Eva, she said she ducked because I was wildly swinging my arms and yelling. In my dream, a lion was trying to get me, but rather than run, I swung away and punched it untl it ran. We shouldn't tune out the world, but we can hunker down and avoid it for a while to help the professionals as they fight back.
"You can't calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself, the storm will pass."
I imagine most of us are feeling a little apprehensive. My advice… don't let this discolor your soul, take a deep breath and a step back to assess the situation. I know you're afraid, there is so much we do not understand. This is not an armegedon, we need to act responsibly. You don't need more ammo, you need more compassion. As much as we need one another's comfort, each other's company, we should refrain from gathering and practice the socal distancing the professionals are preaching. This will take longer then you would like and it will ebb and flow in waves. Take this time to look inwardly, to try something or learn something new and help your neighbor.
But you don't need me to tell you what to do, the experts are out there working their asses off. Listen to them, because if we don't, it will get worse. While we're going to face difficulty, that difficulty is just another one of life's battle scars that can be overcome… if we stick together.
There's a storm coming tonight… gotta get the plow truck ready!