Living History: March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

         “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”– Maya Angelou

         Every moment that has passed is history. From the small scale of our everyday lives to the grand scale of world events. If we let those significant moments go by without documenting them, what is our purpose?

         Ancient people drew pictures on walls and carved into rock when words weren’t available. People told stories to their children that were passed down to each new generation until those tales became ingrained into a narrative that would live on for someone to document and keep for them.

         It is our job to do that now. 

         I often worry there is nothing I could say or write that hasn’t already been written before by someone wiser, more eloquent, or more educated than me. The only thing I provide to history is my interpretation of my reality, and the events going on around me from my perspective. 

         That is what every single one of us offers. We should invest in that, and keep a record of our days, because there will come a time when a generation far beyond ours will look at history, at us, with wonder. 

         My eyes had been on China long before the Corona Virus made the news. I had been watching the protests in Hong Kong. They talked about the virus here almost casually. From my side of things in the US, it seemed much like a “not our problem, but let’s monitor it” type of reaction from the media. 

         It gained traction, and my concern grew because of all the unknowns that came with the virus and all the travel into and out of our country and amongst the world. I have a child with neurological and auto immune issues. I have asthma. There are three little humans that rely on me to keep them alive and healthy, and I couldn’t imagine what would happen if I wasn’t able to function because of a respiratory illness.

         Much to my dismay, few seemed phased by it. There were many ways people were convincing themselves it wasn’t that bad. I was part of that. I was in the crowd of my kids got sick in the fall with a respiratory illness, so they already had it, for a while.

         There was the idea it was a conspiracy.

         That it wasn’t that bad.

         That it was overblown.

         That it was because of the election.

         That it was Hillary Clinton’s fault. 

         That last one is a joke, but I can’t be sure it wasn’t something someone put out there. 

         Regardless, the fact remains: very few took the virus seriously until it was in our country, knocking on our door, killing our neighbors. 

         Each day the problem grew, and the news became more terrifying. 

         Many of us buried our heads and chose to avoid the news as much as possible, because it helped us not worry.

         Avoidance rarely works as an effective coping skill, and soon it was unavoidable.

         It was here; it was growing, and we had to make changes. 

         We were told to stay home as much as possible. People panicked. The situation went from “overblown” to “apocalypse” overnight. Over the course of a few days, grocery stores were emptied, small businesses were closed, and for an unknown reason, toilet paper grew scarce. We went from all the freedoms one could imagine, to not being able to freely go into and out of a hospital. No sports. No gatherings. No church.

         People coped in different ways as the “social isolation” movement grew stronger. Fewer people ignored the problem, less people believed it wasn’t real, though there were many who didn’t care how their actions affected others. For the most part, we kept our ‘social distance’ and stayed home and six feet apart. In this, a trend grew that I am not sure many noticed.

         In that isolation, people seemed… nicer.

         There was more kindness, because suddenly we were ALL shut ins. We were all stuck at home. Most everyone worried about their jobs, about food, about their health. 

         In the darkest collective time for most living people’s lives, we were all on an even playing field. We were all scared.

         Social media brought many problems into our world as it exploded in recent years, but for this global crisis it had a distinct purpose. It was there we could voice our concerns, join in humor, or just show how stir crazy we were with each other by venting, laughing, dancing, or creating art. 

         For a time, one that probably wouldn’t last long, there was less division.

         It was the one good thing I had seen up until this point in our living history. 

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