This will likely be a different type of column than what you usually get from me. I usually try to rely on a bit of humor and the general absurdity of some aspects of life to scaffold one of these short groups of paragraphs. This time, the theme might seem a bit more serious, and I hope that is okay.
Today I’d like to look past the astounding ways our lives have been changing in such abrupt fashion as they have in only the last few weeks. Those things do amaze me, especially in their rapid succession. Our entire nation, our entire world has been, hopefully temporarily, thrown into a worsening situation that is evolving with each new day. By the time you read these words many things will have changed still more.
Only yesterday, as my wife and I sat here in our own self-imposed partial quarantine, she mentioned the idea that perhaps our nation is finding itself in the midst of a great ‘time out’. She and I almost daily babysit for our very active three-year-old granddaughter and are very familiar with the meaning of a time out, for sure. Those times are when a child is disciplined by being forced to sit still a while and contemplate both their past behavior and what their future behavior should be.
What my very wise spouse had realized is that perhaps we adults should consider this time of partial isolation from ‘normal’ life and community as an opportunity to do the same. We should not hoard, but we should value the things available to us in our great nation. We should not be selfish but should find ways to assist those around us who need assistance. We should not fear but find comfort and strength in our faith and family, as we always should have.
One newsman that I was listening to the other day said this is beginning to be referred to as the ‘Big Pause,’ another way of expressing the idea of a ‘time out’. A person’s conscience is often shaken and reset by a time of adversity; perhaps this is also true of the conscience of a nation. We do need to find common ground in this fight against an invisible and common enemy, if we are to win. A virus is no respecter of race, religion, sex, or political leanings.
My very wise wife also recently texted me, from the other end of the couch, (Ain’t technology grand?) one of those little social media ‘sayings’ that appear every day. This one looked at quarantine measures in a very positive way. It brought some things into perspective for me. The wording was this: “Getting outdoors, Not canceled. Music, Not canceled. Family, Not canceled. Reading, Not canceled. Singing, Not canceled. Laughing, Not canceled. Hope, Not canceled. Let’s embrace what we have.”
We are hearing, day after day, that the future is uncertain regarding the coronavirus. That, in its far-reaching effects, is obviously true, at least so far. The virus, as the doctors and scientists have said, will wash over our nation before it subsides. We must hold on, hole up, and prepare for that.
Still, life is very good and much of that goodness depends on our attitudes. I once read this quote by famous author Charles Swindoll: “I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me, and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you.”
Stay safe, stay well, and stay positive my friends.