I’m writing this on March 15, 2020, and many are in a panic over the COVID 19 pandemic. I’m hoping that when the time comes that you are reading this, the panic is over and the virus on the downside. Information on this is changing from minute to minute, so if there is an update to add toward the end of the month, I will do so. What I can report is that I’ve seen some of the best in people and some of the worst. The pandemic certainly should be taken seriously, and appropriate precautions, as far as we know at this writing, were taken. Schools have been closed, churches learned how to be the church differently, working from home has been found to be an option for more folks that we would have thought. Air pollution over China was found to have decreased majorly when factories were shut down. Looking back from when you’re reading this, or a few weeks from then, we may be wondering what all the fuss was about. I hope so, because that will mean the precautions taken worked.
The ugliness was ugly. Fear, greed, hoarding, panic. Store shelves empty after cashiers reported checking out customers with four or more carts of toilet paper (?), frozen food, cleaning supplies, bread, diapers. Our church was unable to purchase hand sanitizer! My cousin works in Walmart and reported people coming in who were unable to purchase the basic necessities. My niece in Chicago had to go north of the city to find groceries. We’ve been given a small taste of what those in poverty live with on a daily basis. Folks who are in a position to purchase accessed the stores and purchased much more than they would need, leaving others with little, and no offers to share, help the neighbor, take care of the least of these. My prayer is that we will learn from this. At least in the United States, there really is enough to go around. We all need and deserve access. Faith. Where was the faith?
Ah, the faith was here all the time. I saw it in people who went out of their way to check on older neighbors, to help parents when school was abruptly cancelled for weeks. I saw it when our church took action to prevent the spread of the virus find and implement brand new ways for us to worship together. I saw it in my friends in health care who put themselves at risk every time they go to work. I saw in in those who manage the food pantry as they worked and found a way to continue to serve the community in a safe manner. I saw the faith as people were a non-anxious presence in a time of high anxiety. So, again, my prayer is that we learn from this, and by living our faith, faith will also become a pandemic.
I’m also hopeful that having become aware of the importance of hand washing, not touching our faces, staying home when we’re sick not just because we don’t feel up to working, but to keep from spreading our common cold, norovirus, or influenza. Illness that might cause one of us a slight cold and easily turn into something more threatening and even deadly in someone else. Many health care facilities punish those who take sick days, many do not offer sick pay. We’ve had the habit of looking down on people who stay home when they’re sick, announcing proudly how sick we’ve been and worked anyway. I’m hoping we now see the error in this. I’m hoping companies and businesses see the error in this.
I’ve always believed that God can make good come out of anything. Even a global pandemic.
Update: Our mission trip to Uganda is being rescheduled due to travel bans.
Christy Friedel, R.N., S.D. 269-535-1032 firstname.lastname@example.org