What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s a cliché for sure. But many clichés are rooted in something very real, and I can’t think of a better time than now to love each other. What’s hard is that we have to love many from afar right now because social distancing has become a REAL THING here in America. This is something I never thought we’d face, because honestly, we have always lived a charmed life in the US. #firstworldproblems, am I right?
So here’s what’s going on today, March 19th, 2020 in Oregon. No more than 25 people in a room together, mandated by our governor. Schools closed until at least April 29th, and very possibly longer. Restaurants closed down. All large events canceled and closed. People working from home and businesses closing their doors. States on lockdown. No one allowed closer than 6 feet from each other. Grocery stores running out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. And possibly the worst thing, hospitals ill equipped for what’s predicted to be huge masses of people coming down with a virus that we all reacted too late for. It’s a pandemic and most of us never thought it would happen like this. People are FREAKING OUT. We are facing economic ruin and kids will get behind in school and people will miss out on so many things. And so many are divided over how seriously we should be taking this. Some have shut themselves in their houses and some are still living their lives as normal as can be, with many shades of paranoia and indifference in between.
But good comes from this too. We are in scary times and it’s going to get worse, but there is much to learn from this and it’s not all bad. We can take a cue from our elders on this, those same elders that are at such a risk now of contracting this ickiness that can and will be fatal to many of them. They remember simpler times, and that is what we need in these complicated times. Ironically, we are using our electronics more right now, to video conference and work from home and download apps to help our kids homeschool, and thank the Lord for that technology. But. There is also a lesson here.
This is the time. The time to slow the fuck down and enjoy our kids. To hug them and snuggle with them and make them pancakes for breakfast. To take the time to be a part of their education and see firsthand what is in their beautiful minds. The time to enjoy sitting back and reading books again, writing, and creating. The time to tell stories and listen and learn.
This is the time to spend time with your spouse or your loved ones that you are at home with. The time to enjoy each other’s company and stop instead of run from one meeting to the next. To plan out dinner and sit at the table with one another and talk to each other like it's all new again.
This is the time to savor being outside, if you aren’t scared to go there. To enjoy your backyard or to take a walk around the neighborhood (safely.) To breathe in the air (again, safely) and block out the noise. To actually wave at the neighbors you never got to know before, because everyone was always too busy for a walk before. To realize now, we are all in this together. To put aside the left and the right and the hate and the bickering. Because despite all the chatter of the world, it's actually kind of quiet right now too.
This is the time to be creative, and to figure out how to live a new normal. A time to help your neighbors and fellow man and all the people who can’t help themselves. To buy from a local business because you can or to get groceries for friends or strangers in an attempt to flatten the curve by helping them stay home. Or to accept the kindness of others because your business is the one in trouble, and to learn humility and humbleness. To put down our shields of pride and allow people to reach out and come together in crisis because that’s what makes us human beings.
And though we can’t touch many people physically now, it’s the time where words and actions mean a lot. Where they replace the hugs we want but we have to wait for. This is the time to show everyone why we sometimes panic. Because that “why” is because this life is worth it and so are the people in it. This is the time. Time to learn about what really matters. Things will never be the same and that’s actually a good thing.
I know it’s hard. But there’s good in everything. This too shall pass and I have faith that we will come out on the other side better for it.
Stay healthy. Virtual hugs.