March 14, 2020.
It’s Saturday morning. Schools are closed for 2 weeks. At least. Virtually all meetings involving more than one or two people have been cancelled. For weeks. Even months! There’s a certain relief that we’re taking certain steps to ‘flatten the curve,’ that we’re being pro-active in ways that will prevent full-scale mayhem. But beyond two weeks lies a ridge no one has ever crossed, a frontier never explored in anyone’s lifetime: an eerie social distancing that keeps society moving like a ghost – silent, still. It’s not a war zone – there’s no fear of getting shot or bombed.
It’s not a lockdown
We are free to go to the grocery store, the gas station, a restaurant. It’s not a famine – food supply lines seem intact. It’s not a natural disaster per se – power, electricity, water, and shelter all continue in full supply. The only commodity cut short is social engagement in groups face-to-face. Needless to say, this ban will be terrible for some businesses. We pray the travel and hospitality industries can rebound quickly. Any business built around gathering people together – parties, night clubs, cruise ships, event coordinators, etc. – is out for quite a while. But beyond these, we’re in uncharted waters. Both because we don’t know what sort of culture that mass social distancing will create and, just as significantly, we don’t know how long it will last. While most of society, at least in my neck of the woods, sees the wisdom of these draconian steps now – there is a certain uniting around a common cause – this won’t last forever.
Sooner or later, people WILL start getting upset. There WILL be significant backlash against and disagreement over government policy, local and otherwise. It is at THAT juncture, in the heat of rage, when our true mettle will be tested. It is truly a brave new world. I hope I can face it with courage, cooperation, creativity, and compassion. I hope I rise to the occasion. Most of all, I hope I do what’s right in the eyes of my Creator.
Recommendations (for myself and anyone else reading)
Crank up your online operation/skills, lean into pastimes – for sanity’s sake, lean into community connections – STAY CONNECTED!!, be ready to volunteer in BIG ways, support all the businesses you can!, stay abreast of municipal directives, take advantage of extended family time, discern what you can of the future but stay in the present. Trust God. Pray. In every crisis there is opportunity.
By God’s grace may we find it.