April 6, 2020
Thinking of An Escape Plan?
As my stay-at-home period continues I must report I am starting to feel a little antsy. Betty and I have visited our daughters' homes over the past few weeks for Sunday games and meal time. One major change: each couple or single person brings their own food and drink. Obviously it would be quite difficult to expect the host to feed 8-13 people. So, we all contribute. Last weekend: mac and cheese with a green salad for us.
I have squeezed in a run to Lowes for a lawnmower. If my lawn service stops coming the grass will keep growing, so the mower might become quite important. Never fear, it was ordered and paid for online, brought outside by a worker and loaded into the car without my touching anything. At home, after unloading the box, hand sanitizer was liberally applied. Otherwise, with everything closed, a neighborhood walk with the dog and a book on the back porch is my world.
Each day I wake up to reports about the spread of this invisible menace. The number of cases, the mounting death toll, the use of refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies...it is all surreal. People using scarves as masks, health workers so overwhelmed that they must rely on food and supplies from fellow citizens to stay on the job...how will this end?
It is hard to stay mentally upbeat when everything we have known as normal is upended. It is humbling to see the power of Mother Nature, uninterested in the politics and desires of man, do what she will do. It is distressing to realize that the minor inconveniences my family faces are nothing compared to so many parts of the world, including our own country. It seems very selfish to celebrate the food deliveries from Walmart and Amazon, when millions, soon to be tens of millions, have no money for food, rent, or medicines.
I have read a few comments from some knuckleheads on various social media sites that bothered me, and prompted this post. The premise of those thoughts was that we should be thinking of where we can escape to, now, or after the pandemic is starting to wane. I gather these folks are thinking about outrunning, or hiding from two things they fear: the spread of the flu and the collapse of the social and economic system we have come to expect.
Frankly, it reminded me of the rush to build bomb shelters during the height of the arms race and the Cuban missile crisis. People were tearing up their yard to dig a giant hole, line it with concrete walls, ceiling and floor, install a bombproof (and neighbor-proof) door, and stockpile several months worth of food and water for the day when Russia launched the missiles.
Now, it seems that these modern-day people are convinced that this pandemic will linger for not just months, but years. Food supply chains will rupture. Hospitals and those who work there will have all gotten sick, or so burned out they can longer help. Medicine, masks, and ventilators will be unavailable at any cost. Most of the businesses that are shuttered now will stay that way. Millions will roam the streets, willing to do anything to find food. Government will have imposed draconian restrictions and used the pandemic as an excuse to expand their powers.
The only option these folks see is to head for the hills, either here or some other country. Take as many supplies as they can get their hands on, and find someplace that is isolated from the disaster they see coming. Live off the grid and away from a society that has collapsed.
Whoa. Let me modify my first sentence. Compared to the mindset of these people, I am not getting antsy at all. In fact, I am downright content and feeling blessed. I have plenty of food, I have my family all nearby, I have books and the Internet to keep me content. My guitar works, my paint brushes still paint. My turntable, old CDs, or Spotify keep the music flowing.
We are going to have a tough go of it for a while. There will be a terrible human toll on way too many of us. Our economy will struggle to restart itself, the financial health of millions will be compromised. If for some reason the November election is postponed things will get seriously unpleasant.
But, with all that said, I firmly believe the answer is not to run from what faces us. I have a solid faith that God is with me. He (or She or It) gives me hope and a strength to go through whatever I must face. He won't make it go away if I pray enough; the virus is part of the natural world that will follow its very well-defined rules. God isn't going to interfere with what has been created. But, he will walk through it with me.
Nor do I believe that the virus will destroy our way of life. Will there be changes? I think there will. There could be more awareness of the importance of social interaction, and I don't mean on a smartphone, but real human-to-human relationships. Our belief that the stores will always be open, the shelves always fully stocked, and instant gratification is a law of nature could undergo much needed adjustments. Our appreciation for medical workers, teachers, and delivery people will grow.
But, thinking of an escape plan, whatever that means....no way. We are in something very big and very scary, and we are in it together.