My husband and I don’t watch the news. We’re not into politics or the breaking events that are happening. For the most part, we stick to our own little world of ensuring that our three boys have what they need to be healthy and successful. So, naturally, when I first heard about coronavirus, I thought the customer was messing with me. In my defense, the customer was going on about how our store should provide hand sanitizer to people while he was purchasing beer. My mind linked ‘corona’ and ‘beer’. I mentioned it to my husband later that night and he confirmed that it was something that was going around. In typical fashion, we shrugged it off to ‘media hype’ and went on with our lives.
But, the coronavirus news, unlike most other things we would hear about wasn’t dying down. In fact, we had family and friends that were quite upset when we didn’t take the matter serious (or didn’t seem to take it serious in their eyes). Rather than jumping on Google to do some research I figured it would be best to go straight to the CDC’s website for information concerning this new disease. After reading over the facts, I deducted that it wasn’t as bad as our friends and family were making it out to be. The flu had worse symptoms and had claimed more lives (at the time). So, once again I shifted the story to my ‘media hype- not to panic’ box of my mind.
Then we went on vacation. I took a moment to watch a ‘breaking news’ report because I wanted to see what my friends and family were hearing over and over and over that had them in such a state of fear. I don’t remember the station, I don’t remember the reporters name but I do remember the panic in her voice as she called out the President for downplaying the virus and reported on the numbers as they currently stood, which still were not big compared to other diseases. (Also, the President spoke right before her and was only 7 numbers off from what they were reporting so this might be where people get the ‘media hype’ theory. Just saying.)
I got back to work after our vacation and the store was busier than usual. Customers were clearing the shelves of hand sanitizer and toilet paper and shelf stable food. I could not understand the panic. That is, until I spoke with a co-worker that was experiencing the same panic. We talked for a bit about the facts surrounding everything that was going on. Then the co-worker asked me something that threw me of guard, “How do you stay so headstrong through all of this? How are you not falling apart?”
Written words come easy to me. It gives me a chance to collect all my thoughts, backspace, delete, and rewrite until I believe I have delivered my thoughts/opinion as clear as possible to the audience I’m addressing. Improve videos and on-the-spot speaking terrifies me because there’s no collecting my thoughts or edits. It takes a lot more work to ensure my thoughts/opinion are delivered clearly. Plus, there the opportunity for on the spot questioning. (Don’t expect to see me in politics anytime soon.)
As the co-worker continued, I finally blurted out, “God.”
Yesterday, the World Health Organization announced in a speech that they were classifying coronavirus as a pandemic. They also included that the word pandemic was “not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”
That is exactly what I see on so many faces rushing through the store trying to stock up on all that they might need- fear. If you want to eliminate something you it’s important to go down all the way to the root cause.
To all of my family and friends, to anyone that has ears to hear, I’d like to shed some light on what I see as the root cause. No one is really afraid of the coronavirus. That’s not the issue. In reality, the fear presents itself for other reasons. Some of us are afraid of death- it could be our own or a family member. Some of us are afraid of the unknown- we believe if we cannot easily label it and contain it, it is something to be feared. But the good majority of us are afraid of our own weakness. Our realization that we are not in control.
The conversation with my co-worker sparked something in me that day. It sparked a desire to spread some hope and shed some light during this time of darkness laying so heavy on so many hearts. So, I’ll tell you what I told my co-worker. Put your trust in God. It won’t fix everything; it won’t make everything in the world right but it will lift that suffocating burden off of you. On the daily, I can’t control everything that happens to myself and my family. I can do everything in my control to ensure that life stays “on the right track” but ultimately craziness could jump out at any moment. The trick is to stop focusing on the craziness and keep my focus on God. For those of you that have issues with God or refute His existence I’m sorry, there’s no other hope I know to tell you about. But for those of you with ears to hear. Take a moment and cry out to God today. He will lift your fear and wash over you with his perfect love.
Be the change...let go of fear and embrace the peace of God.
Nicole Donoho, owner of Teddyfly LLC, enjoys writing stories for all ages. She currently lives in Northwest Arkansas where she takes in the beauty of the Natural State with her husband, Jacob, and their three sons-Elijah, Josiah, and Solomon.