Life in the Time of a Pandemic
A few days ago, when the United States started taking the Coronavirus a bit more seriously, one of my daughters asked: “Could God have sent this because He is mad at us? Like when He sent the flood?” One of her sisters responded: “No, God is too nice!”
We find ourselves in a new world—one that looks frightening and eerily familiar to a science fiction Armageddon movie. As we are bombarded with messages of fear, death and hopelessness, it is time for each of us to find our inner strength, fill ourselves with faith and love, and remember that our mindset is most critical in the battle we face today.
Community: A Native American proverb states, “With all things and in all things, we are relatives.” Truly this is the time to love our neighbor; to think outside of our own selves. It is a time where we do not need to bulk buy and leave others without, but a time to check on our neighbors, especially the elderly and help others, rather than hoard to the point of gluttony and greed. Romans 13:8-1 says, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet’, and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Let us remember that we are a part of the community. Turn to one another with love, not selfishness and greed.
Optimism. Voltaire wrote, “Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.” We live in a time of madness. Unfamiliar days have entered into our realm and it is natural to feel anxious. Solutions seem to only pose more questions. Yet, we see the Spanish and Italians singing from their balconies. Groups joining together to help the elderly. Businesses sacrificing their income and closing doors to keep society at large safe. Doctors, first-responders, ministers and citizens in general putting their own lives on the line to save others. Do we see the sadness of the situation or the hope that only humanity can bring to a situation, no matter how dire it might appear? Let us see the hope.
Visualize: A common technique psychologists teach for anxiety and stress is visualization. They suggest visualizing your safe, relaxing place and taking the time every day to close your eyes and visit that place—What does it smell like? What does it sound like? What do you feel under your toes? What are your hands touching?
We must visualize the future beyond this pandemic and realize it is only temporary. While life may be disrupted for a while, we will find our way back to our regular lives and perhaps, we will appreciate them a little more. So, go ahead, visualize your favorite place, go there in your mind and relax, as this too shall pass.
Influence: Whether we want to admit it or not, we are influenced by one another. Numerous studies have examined buying behavior, and, while many factors play a role in this, “herd behavior” is a common one. If people are lined up to buy something, we want to see what it is and maybe get it for ourselves. If a customer in the store is buying 20 gallons of water, we think: “Perhaps I should buy some too. What does he know that I don’t?” In trying times as these, we must remember that our actions, our words, our behaviors can influence others, whether we see it or not. Is it not better to influence with loving actions, care for others, and hope, rather than to influence with fear and pessimism?
Discipline: Do not fall prey to social media rumors, lies, non-scientific studies, clickbait and all other forms of misinformation that have taken over our lives. We must listen to our doctors, scientists and researchers. Being disciplined enough to find legitimate sources, heed the warnings of our cities, states and nation and think of others, as well as ourselves, we can and will find the path out of this confusing and dark maze which our lives have temporarily entered. Valid information will come from our medical professionals. Let us not burden them with unnecessary ails, but support them as they encounter a great obstacle unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes.
19: The Book of Wisdom has 19 chapters. It ends with, “For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people; and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.” We must have the wisdom and faith to see that the same is true of today. The horizon is ahead of us, but we must be wise enough to open our eyes and look in the correct direction, lest we miss it. Jimi Hendrix said, “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” Let us be wise enough to listen to those who have the knowledge to speak, open our eyes and await the glory of the sunrise. I see it coming, do you?
By: Ivana Segvic-Boudreaux
March 18, 2020