by: Andy Lawrenson
* Pastor Rick's Article from the Outer Banks Voice
Culture never stays the same. And with the advent of so much technology, things change ever more rapidly. Dylan was right when he said that, “The Times, They are A-changing.” He just had no idea how rapidly the times would change in the spring of 2020. None of us did. Who thought they would be giving up so much for Lent? This “new normal” is no fun.
So, here we are. The threat of a rapidly expanding killer (sometimes) virus headed our way. And with it, a plunging economy. Here on the Outer Banks we haven’t yet seen the virus show its ugly head, but we’ve seen the negative impact it has on the prognosticators’ predictions. Schools are out of session. The bridges are closed to the money that crosses them. Restaurants are only open for take-out orders. Heck, the guy at the local tackle shop told me this morning that they were closing tomorrow for at least two weeks. 7-11 is even starting deliveries! “I’ll have two banana Slurpees, please.”
And no one really knows answers to a lot of the pertinent questions. When will it arrive? How long will it last? How will I care for my kids? Will I get laid off and if so, how can I provide for my family? Where will I buy some toilet paper? On and on the questions go. With so many questions, we’re all in a search for answers. But like love, we too often look in the wrong places. And with many of the “answers” we find comes more anxiety.
I heard it said that “The truth will set you free.” Jesus said that. So, let me suggest some truth, some facts that I hope will bring some calm in your life.
- This, too will pass. We know that already. In China, where it began, the cases have dropped significantly from when it began. It apparently, the experts are saying, has a shelf life. It isn’t permanent, although here in the US, the experts say it has a ways to go before the downhill side of the bell curve. But, one day things will turn the corner. Let’s hope and pray it’s sooner than later.
- Don’t believe everything you see or hear. All of a sudden everyone’s an epidemiologist. And here is where most of the panic and anxiety originate. “I heard…” “Someone told me…” “Such and such a news outlet reported…” The truth is much of what we hear and see in today’s media (and I know, I’m writing this for a media outlet) is conjecture and opinion, not facts. But there are some who are using this pandemic for political and/or financial gain. And as can be expected, politicians can be the worst in fanning flames. Focus on fact. No need for a lot of this debate that isn’t so friendly. You’re not an expert. Neither am I.
- Limit your time on social media and cable “news.” Unless they are directly quoting the experts (the CDC for example), ignore them. Besides, all they tend to do is stir up fear and worry about something none of us can control. But I can control what I allow my eyes to see and my ears to hear. Give yourself a quarantine from the media and rumor mills. I’ve blocked a local Facebook group from showing up on my feed because it has turned into a gossip/rumor page. I don’t need that. Neither do you.
- Do what you can do to stop the spread. The medical experts are telling us a few things. It’s not that they’re simple things, but they can slow the spread down, which will ultimately save lives. No one knows how unknowingly you or I can come in contact with someone who also unknowingly has picked up the virus and hasn’t yet shown any symptoms. We can’t know those things. And simple ignorance like that can wind up taking the lives of the most vulnerable. It’s not just about protecting yourself, but those around you.
So, wash your hands frequently. I carry two bottles of hand sanitizer in my truck. If I go out for something, I touch things…door handles, gas pumps, that gallon of milk in the dairy section, the change handed me by the cashier, the debit card I’ve inserted, and after who? I don’t know! Avoid going out and about unless it is absolutely necessary. Practice safe social distancing from one another. Don’t gather in groups. Today it’s 10, tomorrow it will probably be half that. None of us know what we can’t see.