Our Strange New World
By Dr. Ron Enders
Who would have ever thought that while we were enjoying our Christmas Holidays, events in China were to change almost every aspect of our lives in just a few short months? But here we are facing a radical departure from just about everything we thought was permanent, stable, and safe. An invisible virus is now a clear and present danger; an engineering feat of Nature that has all but stopped our way of doing things in its tracks.
Our world is now an unfamiliar landscape with new rules and different priorities. School buses deliver food instead of children. We are stashing away all kinds of things like little frantic squirrels anticipating a rough winter. Going to a movie is a distant memory. All kids are being home schooled. With everyone home you need to take a ticket to use the bathroom. The lonely and unloved bar of soap is now revered and has an honored place in our homes along with the coveted roll of toilet paper. We amazingly have time to sit down and talk with our families, perhaps recall just how much fun it was to play a board game. Some of us get paid to work at home. Some of us must brave the world beyond the safety of our houses like healthcare workers who spend each day in harm’s way.
It is also a scary world. I am sure everyone is anxious about their families and friends and cringe each time the news reports another positive case. We try to be upbeat and recall the words of the Julie Andrew song in the Sound of Music, “I Simply Remember my Favorite Things,” but it is hard to be upbeat. The unknown is terrifying simply because it is unknown. There’s not much getting around that, just like we were during 9/11 with the threat of terror attacks and deadly anthrax. Perhaps this fear helps all of us appreciate more what we have; a mother’s hug, a chance to play catch with dad, food on the table and hope. Yes, hope. Knowing that this virus will eventually take a vacation keeps us vigilant, careful, long-suffering, and at the same time full of promise.
If there is one thing to be said about people it is that we are resilient. We strive to overcome all obstacles. We find victory despite the defeats and strength in each other. Think of how all of us have pulled together to fight COVID-19. Regardless of our differences of opinion about so many things, this event has brought us together in a unified mission in which humanity itself is the binding tie. This unity of purpose will undoubtedly be the single most important factor in overcoming our present situation. People willing to help people they never saw before, or better still people with whom they have been at odds with in the past, this is the sermon that we all must agree needs a resounding AMEN.
When the day arrives and the danger has passed just imagine what the world will be like. No one knows for sure what that sunrise will bring, but it will certainly be a strange new world. The impact of this event is certain to alter many of the things that were so commonplace in the past. Think about the benefits to this world if everyone continues to truly care about each other. What if families brought together by the dark time remained strong and interactive. Imagine if parents continued to take time out to help their children with their studies. Hopefully we will have a new respect for the doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police, and other civil servants who risked everything to keep us safe. Most certainly I hope we will continue to appreciate our bars of soap.
Knowing that this strange new world will happen can be seen as new opportunities for all. Maybe there will be a new list of our favorite things. In the meanwhile, avoid any unnecessary trips, stay home, wash your hands, provide moral support to those who need it and yes, learn how to be a good sport when you lose a game of monopoly.