We were already living with a heightened sense of anxiousness.
Hyper partisan politics.
Finger pointing and blaming rather than leadership.
Community fabric unraveling.
My side versus yours.
Your side versus mine.
And then this.
More than 4000 deaths and more than 100,000 infected.
Stock market plummeting.
National guard sent to establish a quarantine perimeter in a NYC suburb.
Whole countries quarantined.
Store shelves cleaned out of hand sanitizer and face masks.
We walk into the grocery store or the library or the sanctuary and look to see who else is close by who might sneeze or cough. Or who might not, but who might still be infected with the virus touching the same door knob that we did or the can of soup next to the one we did.
If it was hard before……
I will wash my hands and sneeze into my arm and do what I can to protect myself from others and to protect others from me…just in case.
But larger questions loom.
What are you going to do after you wash your hands?
This is not just about me.
What about the health care workers who were already busy and stressed and now are and tomorrow will be overwhelmed caring for others and worrying about themselves and their households? What about the neighbor who is afraid to go to work because they are not feeling well, but afraid that if they don’t they won’t be able to pay the rent or buy food? What about those who will lose their jobs? What about those who have lost and will lose loved ones? How are we going to respond? While that is a personal question with personal responses, it is also a corporate question. A community question. A national question. A common good question.
How are we going to care for and support those in need whatever the need?
I don’t know how long this pandemic will last, but the ripple effects will last much longer.
While the WHO and the CDC do their work to contain the virus, the rest of us have our work cut out for us, as well. Maybe the first step for you and me is to start the conversation in those places where we live and work.