If nothing else, this shut down over the Corona Virus, or Covid-19, has really shown us what we are made of and it’s not a flattering picture overall. I think the thing that has made the biggest impression with me is the fear and greed that has come out the dark corners to end up affecting us all. If it’s any indicator, we are so very lucky that this was not some sort of catastrophe. There’s also the small group of people who think it’s a hoax or that they are untouchable and behaving in an irrational manner.
I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about not panicking. I knew that there would be people who would react badly and do stupid things. It’s par for the course. It’s time that we realized that no matter how calm and sensible we may try to be, there will be those who will do exactly what they want and the way they want to. I wanted everyone to just be prepared. I suggested a few weeks of groceries to carry over what did turn out to be a quarantine period. The idea was to keep people home, have enough to get them through an extended period of time, and to make arrangements for the possibility of schools, businesses, and workplaces shutting down. At the time, there weren’t a lot of people worried about it. Because we didn’t have an outbreak in the U.S., I think there were some that thought it would never come here. And then it did. Our reaction? For some, it was a rush to fill their house with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and face masks. So much so, that it created a shortage for the rest of us. It endangered health care workers and made it tough for a lot of folks. When following comments on a local Facebook page about the elusive baby wipes, I couldn’t help but comment about the fact that I used cloth diapers and didn’t know what baby wipes were with my first child. The anger, the lashing out, the whining about not having them was more than I could deal with when some of us are just sitting here wondering if our immune system will be strong enough to survive this virus. The constant pictures of empty shelves where toilet paper was supposed to be bombarded Facebook. Questions about where to find milk and bread showed up today. All of this for a virus.
It made me realize that we are so unprepared for a catastrophic event. This is nothing compared to what could happen in the world today. It’s scary, I agree. I also know that there are worse things and we are a nation so not ready that surviving a catastrophe will be close to impossible. People do not have back up child care in place. They have no savings. They don’t have a stock pile of food and supplies that those of us living in cold weather places usually keep on hand in case of snow blizzards. Emotionally, they can’t imagine being forced to stay home with their children for a month. They are living paycheck to paycheck and the prospect of not working is terrifying. Households do not have medicines or supplies to treat illness at home. Their priorities are so out of whack, they are lost and confused as to what they do need or should be doing. This particular event isn’t the survival of the fittest. It’s the survival of the smartest.
I have to ask the question of where would you be if one or both of you lost your jobs or were injured to the point of not being able to work? How do you survive? What is your list of things to have in place to make it through a tough time? Our parents told us to always be ready for the unexpected. To try to have 3 house payments in the bank. To save pennies, nickels and dimes. To learn to do without what you don’t need and to figure out what you really do need. We were told to live within our means. We weren’t raised to expect the government to step in with a program or assistance the minute we were in trouble. We did know that our neighbors, churches, and communities would give us a helping hand. But, we were also embarrassed about needing it. Remember the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? Sure, sometimes you get into a bind and need to depend on someone else to help. Nothing wrong with that. In this case though, there are those who have no idea how to take care of themselves at all and those that go out of their minds hoarding items and either profiting off of them or keeping them out of the hands of those who might need it more.
I am proud of the way our school system and the YMCA in our area stepped in to provide meals for kids whose only meals are at school. I am even more proud of those who posted on Facebook that they would help anyone with hungry children. As risky as it was, there were those who volunteered to watch children along with their own to allow working parents with no alternative childcare to continue working. There were offers to shop and give rides for the elderly. Friends are checking in with friends to see if they are ok. This is people helping people. It’s the right thing to do. But for the grace of God, there go I.
With each passing hour, I see the adjustments being made by businesses to try to keep from going under. Restaurants are offering carry out and drive thru services. Stores are cutting hours, but trying to keep up with the current demand. Those who can work from home, should be. In Michigan, we have closed schools, eliminated meetings unless for an emergency, our libraries have closed, and all events, concerts, and plays are canceled. Basically, it’s a GO HOME AND STAY HOME approach. It’s what needs to happen whether we like it or not. It’s not going to be easy to get things back on track either. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be. We are buying time right now to try to get this under control, but I would not be surprised at all if our children do not go back to school this year and any event with a gathering of people will continue to be discouraged for a long time. We need to cooperate if we expect our lives to go back to any semblance of normalcy. We need to ride this thing out sensibly, with maturity and consideration for one another. We need to help one another when we can. Check on your neighbors to see how they are doing. We are all in this together. We need to act like it. We also need to take note of the lessons coming out of this. Let’s teach our children how this is supposed to be handled. And when we get back on our feet again, prioritize!