Holy One, give us courage for this moment. Let us meet each day and its challenges as it comes. Give us a godly hope and then let us be a sign and a light for others. Protect all those who lives are in danger. Bless the dying and heal the sick. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Savior and our Redeemer.
I’ve started rationing the news I read and watch. My habit of dealing with emergencies by binge watching the news and refreshing social media has made things worse. Bad news follows bad news. Concerns mount upon worries. And the visceral immediacy of the images on TV and online are causing a level of anxiety that I only remember feeling in the days following 9/11.
There were studies done in the aftermath of 9/11 on the emotional impact the repeated images of the collapsing towers were having. Apparently, each time we saw the fall, the emotions of the original moment came flooding back – and this was particularly true for children. It feels to me like the same thing is happening now. Each image of an overwhelmed ICU, each image of people not following the requests to physically distance themselves from one another, etc. is just rechurning the emotions and anxiety I’m feeling.
Prayer is helping. My prayers right now are not terribly eloquent. I say the Jesus Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, the Trisagion, and the Hail Mary over and over. These have become my breath prayers in a moment of doubt and uncertainty. How desperately I wish we could gather together to sing and pray, to share the Eucharist and joke with one another at coffee hour. You never really understand the full value of something until it’s taken a way – as we’ve heard and now know in a deeper way.
We are keeping physically distant from one another. It’s hard. It’s keeping me from the things I would normally use to cope. But it’s the most important thing we can do for each other right now.
I saw an image of fireworks lit in celebration in Wuhan last night. They were celebrating the closing of the last temporary hospital to treat COVID-19 in the region. The hard choices they made worked. I saw the good news out of Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Japan – that the cases there have dropped off to just a trickle. The act of physical distancing from one another in time of Pandemic is working. It is saving people’s lives.
This is hard, and the impact on the economy is frankly unknowable. But we can work through that when we get there. Right now, the economic cost is secondary to ensuring that as many of us as possible will have a shared future together. Be brave. Trust in the experts. Trust in God. Believe in Jesus and his love for each of us. Love your neighbors by doing what you can to protect them. Pray, pray and pray for the health care workers, the emergency workers, the everyday people putting their lives on the line for us.
The numbers are going to climb in the West for a while. I read that it will take about 14 days for the impact of the decisions we’re making right now to have be measurable. But look to the East. The measures work. They will change the trajectory of this pandemic.