Frozen In Fear

Saturday, March 21, 2020
This pandemic has altered our world, in big ways and small, in ways most of us younger than the days of the depression couldn't even imagine.  I witness my little piece of the world and watch as each one of us is handling life in whatever way that comes naturally.  John and I are keeping our distance away from the family, staying out of stores, limiting exposure except for pharmacy drive throughs and some take out pick-up which is solely to support local business.  I struggle to turn off the tv because I'm fixated on daily updates and CNN, unsure if knowledge is power or pain.  I would like to put all of us, as a collective family, into a big, protective bubble till this threat passes, but I can't.  As it turned out, only one of our girls has been able to work from home.  Katie, an RN, is still required to do house visits where she does two 3-hr assessments a day on disabled and chronically ill patients in order to set up home services.  The goal in her company is to convert those visits to televisits but so far, that isn't happening.  Our son-in-law is a newspaper reporter.  He can do some writing at home, albeit difficult with an almost 3 yr old sharing his space, but he too is required to get out and cover stories.  Our other son-in-law is a delivery driver so his work week this week looked just like any other week and will continue to going forward.  My mom, who was just released from her second hospital stay in less than a month, is ordering groceries online and is just enjoying being out of the germ-filled, noisy, stressful hospital setting and is keeping 'in touch' with us and her friends with daily phone chats.  The grandkids are going with the flow trying to keep up on schoolwork and stealing away extra playtime.  They are too young to worry about the long-term ramifications of covid-19 so they're just taking this day-by-day.  It is hard however to not visit Grandma and Grandpa, even though we live right down the street and are used to being here daily.  Yesterday we got to see them in person, outside from several feet away, when we dropped off some dinner.  Even several feet apart, that visit felt so good after almost a week.
I looked out my window the other day and about 6 birds were frozen in position at my feeders, some under the cover of protective domes.  They were literally 'frozen' not even blinking, appearing like statues placed there for appearances.  That went on for around five minutes.  I knew from previous times like these that their 'position' signaled to others that danger was near.  It also served to trick their predator into believing no dinner was available and sure enough, a hawk that I spotted in the tree above eventually moved on to find food somewhere else.  How are we handling this pandemic?  Are we 'frozen in fear', unable to function, afraid to move through our daily life risking contact with a carrier.  It doesn't help that four out of five people who contract the virus will get it from someone who hasn't been diagnosed or may not even have symptoms.  It doesn't help that we're told the virus can live on hard surfaces for hours, maybe days.  I know people who are wiping their groceries with clorox wipes.  I too have done some of that.  While some of us are doing everything we can to avoid being exposed, others are out and about blatantly defying the odds, certain that it won't get them.  Others are doing what they must, going to work to keep their jobs and pay the bills.  They have no choice.  They go out day after day and risk exposure for themselves and their family at home.  And then there are the heroes, the doctors and nurses on the front lines, without protective gear sometimes, treating the sick - some with everyday illnesses like my mom, some with corona virus and others with corona but are not yet diagnosed.  That's the scary part, this disease does not reveal itself immediately and sometimes never reveals itself.  It just hovers out of sight like the hawk in my yard.

But we can't live in fear.  We can't freeze time.  We must keep living, however that looks or feels.  We need to find a new normal during this trying time, not just for ourselves but for others who feel and see our apprehension.  We need to fill these days with things that move us in a positive, forward direction and we need to take control.  We can't cure this pandemic but we can control our response.  The governor is asking that we stay home.  Why on earth does he have to mandate it?   Why can't people heed advice and do what's right?  If you need groceries - go weekly, not daily.  Stop hoarding supplies.  Spread kindness instead of anger and frustration.  Just like any other life crisis, how we approach it determines how we get through it.  We need to search for the blessings in this - time with family, time to catch up on chores, time to read or watch your favorite shows, time to pray.  This is not prison and it is not forever.  It is not war.  Stop being selfish and do what you are asked and don't risk your health if you have that option.  Find a balance between healthy fear and cautious optimism.  Today I implore you, I encourage you to do something positive - for yourself or for others.  Make the most of this day.  Call someone you care about. Write a note to an old friend.  Do something that will tip the scale from fear to faith.  And encourage someone else to do the same.  Stay well and stay safe.

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