Hitting Home

I almost typed, “‘Social distancing. Coming to you from the makers of ‘Conscious uncoupling.’” But then I thought, maybe it’s not so funny anymore. And then I thought of all the people who live in Corona, CA and I realized that, to my knowledge, no one has mined that comedy gold and I admit, I was tempted.

 

But then I thought better of it.

 

I thought of my cousin who lives in northern Italy. I thought of my parents who don’t live far from the cruise ship docked in Oakland.

 

Probably like yours, my newsfeed is filled with coronavirus posts, more than half are jokes and “too cool for school” language. Like, “No biggie. It’s just like the flu.”

 

I saw a meme this morning that said, “To those who now have 28 packages of pasta. To those who are searching the black market for hand sanitizer. To those who walk around with a face mask. And to those who are planning to flee with their kids out of a corona infected area: Never again look down on people who flee from war and famine.”

 

My newsfeed is filled with people who are trying to cope or don’t know that they’re trying to cope. Including me.

 

It seems to me that what’s happening around us is a powerful reminder that until we can identify with something–until it hits closer to home–it doesn’t become real to us. We don’t have a lot of empathy for that which doesn’t touch us.

 

I use humor to cope. Some of us use denial. Some of us run to Costco and fill their garage with toilet paper.

 

We are living in strange times. I think we should take notice. Not panic. Respond. Get real. Imagine someone you love desperately is a risk.

 

We take a lot for granted. I know I do. But, I think, the fragility of life should be calming. Centering. The impermanence of life—our vulnerability—the fact that we are more alike than different should touch us in a way that brings us together, not distance us.

 

James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”