It’s been a weird few days. I’m not used to seeing toilet paper shelves empty (personally, my choice would have been to stock up on my chocolate) or hearing on the end of the news that the end is near for a lot of people. I am not used to being told to stay indoors and avoid inviting my friends over for lunch. My home is my castle, and I am used to having people in it for movie marathons, pizza breaks, and high teas.
This has not been as huge of a lifestyle change for me as for many people, since I work from home and am not much of a “gadabout” anyway, except for trips to the library, grocery store, and occasional movie theater. I’m used to being home all day with my cat.
But, it arouses other fears in me—for our family small business, for our advertisers and their families, and for the potential economic crisis that will come from social isolation for more than six weeks. I fluctuate between periods of anxiety and calm. I informed myself of the facts. And now, all I can do is wait and see. Part of me is at peace with this, since I can change nothing. Part of me isn’t. That is the daily struggle I face, the knowledge I have no power over anything that happens, be it a hurricane or a virus. For all our advanced technology, we cannot keep ourselves out of danger when the unexpected happens. And that scares people enough to want to control how much toilet paper is in their bathroom. I get it. It’s a human response.
Throughout my relationship as a Christian, it has surprised me how much ‘fear’ exists within Christianity, when all through scripture, the message is “be not afraid.” “Show courage.” We are afraid of God’s wrath. We are afraid of sinning. We are afraid of the unknown. We may even fear death (though that might be the one thing I’m not afraid of; I am more afraid of leaving my family and friends without me, not what lies on the other side. Either my faith is right, and I will be happy in a far better place, or my faith is wrong, and I won’t exist and therefore won’t know the difference).
It amazes me how little has changed for me in this crisis. Not in a physical sense, but a spiritual one. The world is panicking around me and I am still preoccupied with my little concerns, such as my angst in relationships, or frustrations with editing my book. It’s a human trait to bury yourself into something and ignore the storm until it passes. I am guilty as charged. Or maybe that’s what humans do: stay resilient. Survive. This is not the end of the world. It is not the first scary thing humans have faced. It is not the first pandemic, nor will it be the last. All we can do is our part in trying to stop it, by staying home and minimizing the spread, for the sake of our elderly friends, grandparents, parents, and neighbors.
We can work from home, play card games with our families, watch movies, and… we can read. With many libraries closed, you may need to find new ways to stay busy. I’m happy to announce that Smashwords is providing a big sale on indie books, now through April 20, 2020. I’m participating, along with many others, and you can find my novels at 60% off. Some authors are offering their books for free. Now is a great time to browse, download, and discover new distractions from what is going on around us.
Sometimes, the best place to be is in a book.
Thanks for this post! I too kind of get caught up in my own concerns. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t worry enough. I am staying home, etc., but as you said much of it is out of our hands. Part of me doesn’t want to be afraid. Fear, I think, causes so much damage. I wonder if, in the end, fear will be the worst of all this.
As you said, we are told over and over in the Bible not to fear, and so I am trying to figure out when too much worrying is too much.
I think God wants us to ‘fear not’ but use wisdom. In my opinion, wisdom means to take precautions and be sensible. It’s not ‘fear’ to wash your hands after you have gone out, it’s common sense. It’s not fear to stay inside for awhile, it’s smart. But we should never allow our fear to become so great, it prevents us from helping others.
Yes, I agree to wisdom over fear, and I heartily agree that fear should never keep us from helping others. It will be times like these when that is needed most.