…in small steps

by Dave Williams
April 25, 2020

I find myself wanting to write but having nothing to say.

This COVID-19 business has dominated our every thought and action for the past five or six weeks. Most of us are even having COVID-19 dreams. Some of us are really stressed. Others think its nonsense.

I’m trying to remain vigilant, patient; optimistic.

My daughter-in-law shared this gem from a Russian writer on Facebook this morning. It says everything.

Wise words from Grandma

Grandma once gave me a tip:

Picture by Tasha Burgess Tudor, illustrator of children’s books. (1915-2008)

During difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

Do what you have to do, but little by bit.

Don’t think about the future, not even what might happen tomorrow.

Wash the dishes.

Take off the dust.

Write a letter.

Make some soup.

Do you see?

You are moving forward step by step.

Take a step and stop.

Get some rest.

Compliment yourself.

Take another step.

Then another one.

You won’t notice, but your steps will grow bigger and bigger.

And time will come when you can think about the future without crying.

— Elena Mikhalkova, The Room of Ancient Keys

 

Is the pandemic a reset?

by Dave Williams
April  2, 2020

   The whole world is gripped with fear. COVID-19 is killing people, overwhelming health care systems and forcing the global economy to its knees.

As I write this we’re all being told to stay home, wash our hands constantly and don’t touch our faces. We’re told to stay at least six feet apart lest Armageddon takes us all, one hapless victim at a time.

Mass media reports are hysterical.

What if this is a Grand Plan? What if God is hitting the reset button and putting us back on the right path?

If you don’t believe in a supreme being that’s fine. I’m not sure I do, either, but hear me out.

Whether this crisis is real or manipulated as some believe, whether or not  the threat to human life is real or overblown it is undeniably real in the changes it  has brought to all  of our ordinary lives.

People are staying home. Families are forced to spend time together, to play games and to remember – or learn for the  first time – what it means to be a family.

There are more people walking the streets of our neighborhoods than ever before. They’re staying safe but being brave, acting cheerful and neighborly. I’ve gotten waves and smiles from people on our street I’ve never seen before. Social media is giving us glimpses of families and friends engaged in happy play in the safety of their own homes.

Kids have never had it so good. Not since I was s child in the 1950s.

Our dogs have never known such loving attention and companionship as they do now, the kind of love they’ve always given us.

We’re home. We’re fearful but we’re learning to rediscover our  humanity and the meaning of life on our own terms.

Even the terrorists are setting aside their fratricidal tactics to ensure their  own safety. ISIS recently told their own death squads to  hunker down. Think of it, people who  willingly blow themselves up to take innocent lives are suddenly fearful of their own mortality.

Change is in the air, all around the world. It’s a terrifying time to be sure. But what if it’s just meant to be, for our own good?

The New Testament describes Armageddon as both a place and a revelation of events that many deem to foretell the end of the world.

What if it’s really a new beginning?

Believe what you will of the existence of God and Revelations. I don’t know what to believe. That stuff is over my head. But I do see something resulting from this pandemic, real or imagined, that is more hopeful than we might have ever dreamed possible.

We’re setting aside our petty differences, putting careers on the back burner and finally finding time for each other.

This may be much more than a silver lining around a dark cloud. It just might put us back on a path we lost a generation or two ago.

Family, friends;  do unto others.

For now at least, love, decency and kindness seem to be in vogue.

I embrace it and look forward to a better, happier world when this is all behind us.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts with me, here.

#StaySafe. #BeBrave. #BeHappy.

Our pandemic of fear

by Dave Williams
March 21, 2020

Coronavirus 19, CDC photo

Nobody could have imagined something like this. Life as we’ve always known it has virtually ground to a halt around the entire civilized world. Here in the U.S. many public gathering places are closed indefinitely. We’re told to socially isolate and self-quarantine.

Wash your hands, stay six feet apart.

Rumors are flying that martial law will soon be imposed and we’ll all be prisoners in our homes.

How could this happen over a disease that most people survive? As of today there have been 287,000 confirmed cases and 11,900 deaths around the world. We’re warned that the numbers will go much higher but if the percentages hold most of us will be just fine. Except, maybe, financially for the immediate future.

Nearly empty flight from Los Angeles to New York. Facebook photo by my friend, Doug McIntyre.

The shutdown of businesses is crushing the stock markets. Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work and here in the U.S. the number of lost jobs is expected to soar into the millions.

It’s like something from a sci-fi movie.

This blog is a diary, really. I write it for my own future memories and for my children and theirs.

Perspective: It’s a grim time here in the First World. And yet, I can’t imagine life in desperately poor countries where this disease is just another relatively minor pain in the ass for people who live with deadly diseases and devastating poverty every single day of their lives.

By comparison our First World has a slight sniffle. We’re fine.

Perspective: I awoke this morning well rested to a beautiful early spring day, my beloved wife beside me. I made coffee as the dogs waited for their breakfast.

Our kids and their families are hunkered down and healthy, as are most Americans.

When all of this is just a memory toilet paper will be the iconic symbol of COVID-19 in America. We have a panic-induced shortage of it but life goes on.

Some people think this is all a lie or at least overblown. Far more people die each year of the flu, it’s true. We just accept that, so why all of this now?

I think the world is getting its act together as a species, globally responsible for the first time in human history. From the local store owner wearing latex gloves to state governors implementing mandatory restrictions of assembly and movement and nations closing their borders we are working together sensibly, cautiously.

Congress is working in bipartisan near-harmony, for God’s sake.

This will all be over sooner rather than later because Americans and citizens of every other nation in the world are reacting to a crisis with serious actions and measured perspective.

While you’re cooped up in self-quarantine with your family this weekend and for what might be days and weeks to come, make it a special time that none of you will ever forget. Give your kids joyous lifetime memories of the time their family came together as families had in generations past.

This, too, shall pass.

My dear mother always said to me, “This can be a good day or a bad day. It’s up to you.”

Stay safe and well. Make it a good day.