These COVID-19 days are just beginning in the United States, y’all. And they are already hard. I vacillate between this sort of calm peace of, “Ok, this is what we’re doing now, it’ll be okay,” and utter rage at hand sanitizer hoarders and the arrogance of those who continue to think this isn’t “a big deal.”
Fear is real, even as I fight against it. I worry, even as I know worry is futile, about isolation, about empty grocery shelves, about those who have no access to medical care, about whether or not I’ve unknowingly put someone at risk. Logically, the very best thing to do is follow precautions and hunker down and practice some selflessness. But logic has a frightening way of eluding us in times such as these.
I’ve thought a lot about September 12, 2001, too. Yes–September 12th. That day after our whole country had been ripped apart by planes flying into buildings and everything felt so terrifying and upside down. That day we were at our worst and at our best. Our worst for how so many Muslim families (or anyone who looked Middle Eastern) were targeted with hate and accusation. Our best for how we mostly were kinder, gentler and practiced a little more humility, were more willing to take care of each other and flocked to our houses of worship in droves.
Because, after all, it turns out “it” could happen to us. And it did. Even the mighty United States of America can be brought to its knees, y’all.
Social media is, as you have often heard me say, the very epitome of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it fuels misinformation and stokes division and offers a platform for fear and anger to run rampant. Fake news is actually a thing and social media is riddled with it.
But on the other hand…
On the other hand, my sister and I used it to trade pictures of our daughters quarantine-crocheting yesterday. And my church just used it to call us all together in worship today. I had no idea how much I needed, or how much it would mean to see my pastors/friends reaching well outside their comfort zones to bring us all a word of care and hope. I’ve found myself posting even more, reaching out to folks via text or messaging even more, making sure my phone is charged and hungry for news of how people are doing.
Social media has, in many ways, made us less of a people. But man-oh-man, right now, we have the perfect opportunity to harness it for good.
There is no way, y’all, to get through this well unless we commit to getting through it together. Because the truth is, we are living through something really uncertain and, at least for several decades now, unprecedented.
And yet still life has to go on. Our libraries are closed and the grocery is running low and work schedules are all shot to hell and days off school don’t equal trips to the zoo and House of Boom right now. But still there are tasks to accomplish and mouths to feed and situations to manage. Still, there is living to do.
I know no other way to get through it all than to do so with equal parts patience and kindness and mercy. We must, for the sake of all that is true and good, choose to navigate the unknown landscape of the corona virus, by taking care of each other.
We simply must.
I have a friend whose 20-something daughter is an addict who has now been in recovery for several years. She is married and has a beautiful baby boy and is in nursing school. She’s doing so well. And her dad tells me that during the very dark days of the very worst of her addiction, when they’d had to take her to a recovery facility and leave her there, not knowing if they would ever see her alive again, they adopted these words, “One day at a time.” They survived their grief and fear and pain one day at a time.
One day at a time.
That’s how we do this, y’all. That’s how we do anything scary and unknown. That’s how we do anything difficult. One day at a time. Trusting that somewhere in the journey there are lessons to be learned and relationships to be made or strengthened, and always, the promise that we are not alone.
One day at a time. Never alone. Full of love and grace. Casting aside fear, so that we can reach beyond it and care for one another in ways we might not have known to before.
So update that Facebook app, and take a few awesome Insta-pics. But for the love of all that is holy–don’t let these methods of communication be what tears us apart. Instead, channel it all–in fact, channel all that you can, for good. We may well be stronger as individuals, as a community, perhaps even as a nation, on the other side of COVID-19.
And if so? What a story we will have to tell our grandchildren.
One day at a time, y’all. Never alone. Full of love and grace.
See you soon. ❤