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Corona Life (Or The Other Side of the Barn Door)

March 15, 2020
You’ve heard the saying “closing the barn door after the horse has escaped”  to denote a gesture made too little, too late. Well, I think of ourselves in the US as in that predicament, closing our borders (barn doors) when the virus has already gotten a significant toehold and is rapidly proliferating. Is it prudent to try and stem the spread now with some common sense travel restrictions? Sure! Steve and I (cue the tiny violins) have postponed our trip to Europe, scheduled for mid-April, until September. Should we Americans regret not doing more, sooner? Should we have anticipated this with more foresight, more funding for medical research and keeping response teams ready, more safeguards in place? Yes. Of course, 
 
In any event, here we are, taking a bit of a Keystone Kops approach to things. Which gatherings to cancel (some are calling for public events to be limited to 250 people, which I find comical: I guess it’s Mister 251 we should all fear!)? School closed, or not (decisions are all over the map at this point)? At church we are eschewing wine intinction at Communion, and we’re dropping the hosts into people’s hands and leaving the offering plate in the back and not passing the peace...still, should we gather for worship anyway? And how about those toilet paper hoarders? Those disinfectant hogs? Will we indeed resort to eating all that hastily purchased canned beef stew? I remember my shelf full of non-perishables as we awaited Y-2K, wondering if the Apocalypse might be preferable to consuming those cans of processed beets and spinach I’d chosen to stockpile.
 
Sadly we don’t have enough hospital beds or medical equipment in this country to safely weather a sudden huge spike in cases, nor is a vaccine on the horizon, so we take what precautions we can, complaining all the while (well I do, anyway) about this disruption to our cherished routine. History has echoes aplenty for us, had we chosen to pay attention: the influenza of 1918 (my Grandma Berrigan and her brother Frank were sent to Ireland from NY for a year to escape the brunt of it), the Bubonic Plague of medieval days. Pandemics happen sometimes, and they are no respecter of people’s busy schedules.
 
We’ll get through this, I believe. I just hope somebody remembers to take notes, so that next time we can be better prepared...because, at some point, there WILL be a next time. Meanwhile, let’s be really careful about blaming and demonizing our brothers and sisters. It could have started anywhere--even in the good old US of A. When it’s all over, I hope we can look back on a time when we pulled together, loving and supporting and caring for each other. 
 
As our calendars sport Xs for crossed off outings, why don’t we use a bit of that freed time to reach out to one another via texts, phone calls, and emails? All in this together, my friends. 
 
God bless us, everyone.
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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.