I live in Washington State, the epicenter of the CoV-19 in the USA. I'm even from the second county it hit here. I think it's the first time I've experienced being at the front of a storm, a tidal wave that's rolling across the country. It's not comfortable. It's full of uncertainty.
And yet, as I see so many friends and family members I know across the US just beginning to struggle with the issues that have faced my area, I feel oddly "in the know." Even if my city, county, and state are just a week or two ahead, I feel like I can give warning to friends and family on the other side of my state (Washington is separated by a mountain range and both sides have very different lifestyles, cultures, and politics - big city to country), onto the next states over, and so on across the continent.
If you haven't had it happen yet, here's what's coming in terms of the measures that have been taken to slow the spread of the virus:
1. Schools will close at all levels. Some schools will offer online classes. Some will just close. Some will say it's for two weeks, some will say it's for six weeks, and some will just graduate their seniors and close.
2. Colleges will go online. Some colleges will keep lab classes open. Some won't. Some will shut down their dorms. Some haven't yet ... but I think they will. Again, some colleges will graduate their seniors without ceremony.
3. If you didn't know yet (I'm sure you do), NCAA sports practices are cancelled. If your child is on a team, they will have even less reason to stay on campus even if the dorms are still open.
4. Businesses will be asked to have their employees work from home or look for ways to reduce the number of hours spent in the office - across all businesses, even ones we think of necessities.
5. Libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, and all entertainment centers will close.
6. Bars, shops, and restaurants will either close or go to "only take out" services. (This means many, many people will be out of work. See my after-thoughts on this.)
7. Gatherings will be limited to 250 people, then down to 50 people. This means places of worship will close and go to online streaming type services, or online worship that's recorded.
8. You will be asked by community leaders like Pastors, business owners, and others to stop gathering with more than 10 people at a time.
9. Unless you have a high temp or are showing symptoms of the virus, your doctors' appointments will get cancelled and you will be asked to stay away from medical centers. If you have the symptoms, you are supposed to phone in and discuss the symptoms with a medical professional before going in. Emergencies are still emergencies, but otherwise, don't go. This is to keep the virus from spreading and to keep our medical workers as healthy and rested as possible. (Some medical appointments are being kept in secure, private chat rooms.)
10. Be prepared to see people behave badly. But also, be prepared for generosity.
And, this is just a tip. We are stronger together. Even if we can't be together as much in person, we can help each other.
Churches and other community centers are organizing help lines for people who need groceries or need delivery of groceries.
Many online education sites are offering free services for a limited time.
A friend of mine who owns a dance studio is offering free, streaming dance classes for her students and for anyone who wants to check in during her online schedule.
When you hunker down and consider all of what's going on, what's your core purpose in this?
What can you do to help others?
Yes, we all need to take care of our health and our families, but what can we do to bring peace, joy, and care to those in our communities who need it most?
As I've been considering this, I've realized I have ways I can be of service, despite having some of my own health concerns:
1. I have a degree in education and I home-schooled my daughters. I can offer home education tips and help to parents online. I will be posting more here and on Youtube soon.
2. I believe in Jesus as my Savior. He is my rock and my refuge. Jesus asks us to Love God and Love Others like He loved us. (I can give out Bible verses on this, if you need them). I can offer up some hope, faith, love, and peace with my own faith walk - even if I stumble a bit now and then - maybe especially because I stumble and God can use that somehow to show that His grace is sufficient? I'm still considering what this looks like. I am definitely praying.
3. I have a quirky, but sometimes morbid and salty, sense of humor. I can post a few bits of this here and there. I think laughter is beneficial and healthy for all of us. I think God laughs. He invented laughter and humor. (He must have, really, when you think about it.)
4. I can keep writing. And publishing. One of my projects that I haven't mentioned much about on this blog is for my faith community. It's called Walking with Jesus: Stories of Faith from One Hope Church. I hope to finish it soon so it can be of help and comfort to those who need stories of what faith looks like in every day life - not super-hero faith, but super-regular faith with an amazing savior.
What's your plan in this?