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Here’s your common sense Coronavirus pep talk

It’s March 14, 2020. Instead of a Facebook feed full of pi jokes and memes, we’re all wading through the vast amounts of information regarding the Coronavirus. As of this moment, there are 2,946 confirmed cases in the United States, and 153,511 confirmed cases in the entire world (stats found on the live Coronavirus tracker via Johns Hopkins).

As if the aggressive spread of a relatively new and unknown virus isn’t enough, there are realities we have to handle. Schools are cancelled. Events postponed. Jobs in flux. Commerce affected. And for some unknown reason, people are buying all the toilet paper.

On top of that, my inbox is piling up with companies, societies, organizations, and random personalities all writing to assure me that they are, indeed, closely monitoring the spread of the virus, and mostly not doing anything differently. So there’s that.

If you have kids , they’re hearing the rumblings of friends or the news or watching you scan your phone constantly to get updates. They may have questions, fears, bad info, or may even be “over it already” in regards to the discussion (as someone in my house said yesterday). Maybe they’re frustrated at being home. By plans cancelling. By the spontaneous shift in their predictable routine.

I’m not hopping on hear to be another voice to tell you what to do or not to do in response to this virus. I’m not a health or virus expert. I’m simply a mom of five and caretaker of an 86-year-old wanting to make this simple plea: let’s be good neighbors to each other during this crisis.

What does that mean? Well, here’s my thoughts on how you can be a positive force in the world today.

  1. Don’t share bad information. Before you believe an article, before you add its information into your mental storeroom of knowledge, and before you click share, ask yourself a few questions: Who wrote this? (Are they qualified to make any conclusions? Are they an expert or a primary resource?) Who published it? (Is this website one that is trying to inform and educate, or is their goal to get clicks?) How current is it? (With information changing each day, an article from a month ago is a piece of the story but not the best information to be basing today’s decisions on.)

2. Make choices with the vulnerable in mind. Look, I know that most people who contract this virus will survive. We aren’t talking about the Bubonic plague or the Spanish flu. However, there are pockets of the population that are highly at-risk for fatality, and this virus is extremely contagious. It’s not an overreaction to live with others in mind. It’s not an overreaction to acknowledge that you could possible play a part in limiting the spread of the virus. It’s not an overreaction to make decisions that could highly benefit others at the expense of your own convenience or temporary quality of life.

3. Let your faith fuel your love not your ignorance. There’s a disconcerting hum of memes and snarky one-liners that imply Christians should be above falling for this “Coronavirus hype”. Do we believe God is at work? Yes. Do we trust Him to provide for us and protect us in all things? Yes. Does that mean we can’t take a pandemic seriously? No. Taking precautions to protect your family and keep loved ones safe doesn’t mean you don’t “have faith” anymore than wearing your seat belt indicates a lack of faith. It means you’re using your head to make wise choices in regards to future events. We can move into this tense situation with peace and careful discernment, and doing so is honoring to our Father in heaven.

4. Even in isolation, keep connecting. We live in a time where it’s possible to never leave your house yet still be in touch with your people. Use your phone to reach out and check on others. Connection is a beautiful way to fight loneliness and fear, and it tells people in your life that in the midst of chaos you see them.

5. As routines are interrupted and tossed out, continue to do the things that ground you. Maybe it’s morning prayer or studying scripture. Maybe it’s journaling out your thoughts. Maybe it’s movement or singing or taking a long walk. Whatever connects you to Christ and reminds you of who you are, keep doing that. Do it every day. Do it like it is absolutely crucial to surviving this strange time with your sanity in tact. Because maybe it is.

Those are some thoughts on this crazy place we find ourselves. I had actually sat down to write “How to be home with your kids all the time and not lose your mind”, but this post seemed to be the prequel to that one.

I’ll leave you with two thoughts, one is from Every Moment Holy, the book of liturgy I often turn to in order to orient my heart to things I cannot see. The second is a quote I repeat to myself at least once a day.

“Therefore attend those now in crisis, O Lord, remaining ever merciful and mindful of their frailties. May their first cry be to you, and may such cries be met by your presence and your peace. Grant good judgement to those who minister aid and protection, and comfort all who endure trauma or loss.

Use even these parts of our stories which are accompanied by sirens, O Lord, to press us closer to your heart.”

A Liturgy for the Sound of Sirens “Every Moment Holy”, Douglas Kaine Mckelvey

“I am one in whom Christ dwells and delights. I live in the strong and unshakable Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is not in trouble, and neither am I.”

James Bryan Smith

Let’s head into this week with love and wisdom. Take care, friends.

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