It’s funny how life works out sometimes. We took this contract in West Virginia so we could be close to DC and visit all the historical sites and take advantage of all the free museums. We were two weeks into our contract when everything suddenly shut down, indefinitely.
Now we are quarantined in a small pre-civil war cabin, away from everything and everyone we know, with only the belongings we can fit in the back of our pickup truck. It’s a bummer, no doubt. Would we have chosen a different contract had we known what was coming? Probably, yes. But then again, maybe Father wanted us tucked safely away from everything in a cabin in the woods of Virginia. I have contemplated blogging about this Kung flu pandemic experience for the last couple of weeks, but can’t even get my own thoughts straight about the whole thing.
There are so many uncertainties, opinions, graphs, projections, viewpoints, and conspiracy theories, it’s enough to make your head spin. The only thing that seems obvious to me, is that nobody knows anything. We are all just guessing. Some of us cling to facts, some of us base our decisions on feelings, some lean towards fear. But it doesn’t really matter which group you are in, we are all human, and all of us are probably having a totally different experience. If you are in a hotspot state, you are seeing scarier things on the news; Navy ships coming to the rescue, hospitals set up in stadiums, a higher number of cases. If you are in the backwoods of Virginia, you are seeing a completely different picture. The hospital here has only had “rule out” patients. People tested for the Chinese virus and quarantined until they get a negative result.
The worst part here has been the massive panic and hoarding of food and supplies. Don’t even get me going on that hysteria. We don’t watch live TV so all our news comes from the White House briefings on Twitter. Don’t judge me. I signed up for Twitter this last year to follow some conservative voices in politics, and have learned a lot and grown in my own beliefs. I have fallen in love with the beauty of America, as the founding fathers intended her to be. If your only source for news is the Lame Stream Media, I challenge you to look outside the box.
But back to business, there is so much information available today, it’s INSANE. And while it’s not all reliable, it all sounds very convincing. Initially, I think we all thought the Wuhan virus was nothing to worry about. Then came the “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” and most of us thought that was a bit of an overreaction, right? Then people started blaming Trump for not reacting soon enough. Mind you, most of those people didn’t react until after he did, but I won’t go there.
In one camp, we’ve got people telling us its no worse than the normal flu, and not as bad as the Swine flu, or Ebola. Then there’s the camp on the other side saying most hospitals are at capacity, cannot handle the current curve and that millions will be dead by the time it’s all done. I’m assuming the truth is somewhere in between, but I know nothing, just like everyone else. Then there is the morality issue related to the argument regarding the economy.
I keep hearing, “If we save just one life, it’ll all be worth it.” Will it? Is one life worth millions losing their jobs? Is one life worth thousands of small businesses (most of them supporting more than just one family) going under with no hopes of recovery? Mine isn’t. Can you even put a value on a life? Or on a small business that someone put their heart, sweat, blood, and life into? How many businesses is one life worth? Don’t get all morally righteous on me, I’m not done yet.
Obviously, I would give anything to save a life. I would easily close up shop if I thought it might save lives. But what if closing up your shop put a dozen people out of work, unable to put food on the table for their kids? That decision gets harder. Most people would agree that lives are more important than money, but can you really simplify the “virus vs the economy” all the way down to “lives vs money?” Can our government just keep printing money without a major hit on our economy? The Great Depression was real. We live in the greatest country in the world, but that doesn’t mean that food falls from heaven or that money grows on trees. There are already people limited to one meal a day.
If we stay shuttered for months, what happens to all the people left with no income and no opportunities? It’s easy for some of us to sit back and say “Oh, the economy will recover.” Yes, it will. But that’s easy to say when you’ve got food on your table and in your freezer and in your pantry. And money in your bank to go to the store to get more. Erich’s job is “essential,” so our income is safe. If he was out of work though, we’d be fine for two weeks. But for two months? I’ll be honest, we’d be turning to family for help.
Would I be willing to live with less, watch my kids be a little hungrier than they’d like, and default on loans to save the lives of my grandma, my parents, and my at-risk friends? Absolutely. Most of us would give up anything to save a life. I personally don’t think it’s that simple though. There is no way to calculate at what point the cure becomes more harmful than the disease, but I do believe that point does exist. I wouldn’t want thousands of kids going hungry to save my life and I know I’m not alone. But that’s not really my point.
I don’t have the answer to when the quarantine should end. I don’t have any answers. I only have questions, just like everyone else. When will this end? How high is the risk of Erich getting the wu flu at the hospital where his floor is the designated COVID response floor for our region? If Erich gets it, what are the chances the kids and I won’t get it? If I wind up in the hospital and Erich has to work, who will take care of the kids? What if I lose someone I love? With the economy tanking, will we ever be able to sell our fifth-wheeler and get our equity back out of it? If we can’t, how will we ever restart our lives when we stop traveling? Will we even be able to stop traveling if the economy crashes? I probably take too much pride in not being one to freak out, but in reality, my mind can be like a runaway train about to come off its rails. The good news is, that while it seems like everything around us is changing, there are two things that remain unchanged.
First of all, Father is the same; He is good and faithful and unmoved. Secondly, our purpose in life has not changed. It has always been to love Him and love people. And the best part is that that can be done in ANY situation. Darkness makes the light stand out even more, right? Darkness makes the light more necessary, even. It’s a perfect opportunity to check on your neighbors, single moms, people who have lost their jobs, lost loved ones, or are struggling with the mental strain of being quarantined indefinitely. Make phone calls, facetime loved ones, write letters, bless people working the front lines.
And be patient! Grocery stores are doing their best to keep up and restaurants are having to switch gears to “take out” orders only. The workers are probably thankful to be working but nervous about being out in public. Thank them. If you are decidedly in one of the two camps I mentioned above, and someone you know is in the other, don’t judge them, just know that their experience and data intake might look different from yours. Facts, feelings, and fear are all real and we all process and respond differently, but we are all human, and we all need each other.
Let’s not get distracted and lose sight of our purpose: to love Him and love people. Let’s use this opportunity to reflect Father’s love and shine as Jesus did, a light in the darkness. “The people living in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on wander-more.blog.
Featured Image by Tom Barrett