Hunkering Down


This is the beginning of week five of my self isolation. I have to admit that I am a very lucky person with regard to staying at home. I’m with a man whose been my best friend for fifty one years and we know how to get along quite well with one another. I have a home  that is comfortable and safe. I’ve been able to find things to do to stay occupied. All in all I can’t complain, but I have to say that the continually changing and often conflicting information that I receive from one day to the next is beginning to make me a bit crazy as I suspect that it is doing for everyone else as well.

We’ve gone from “this will only take a couple of weeks and everyone will be fine” to “there may be 100,000 to 250,000 deaths in the United States.” We were initially told that masks were of no use for anyone other than those who are infected and now the recommendation seems to be that we wear some sort of covering over our noses and mouths whenever we go out.

The list of evolving recommendations has gone into a frenetic cycle of ups and downs that’s as difficult to keep track of as what day it is. We’re told on a Tuesday that we might all be back in church on Easter day, but by Friday we have at least another month to stay at home. People with contact lenses have been warned that they may want to use glasses for the time being or risk being infected as they place the lenses on their eyes. The six foot social distancing rule may or may not be enough to prevent contagion. The virus may spread from talking or it may linger in the air around us. Our dogs and cats may be carrying the disease. The governor from my state of Texas wants us all to stay home but he’s reluctant to make it a firm ruling even to the point of saying that churches can be open as long as people don’t gather too closely together.

In our quest to fully understand Covid-19 there is a a great deal of theorizing and sharing of information. Sometimes there is also a bit too much thinking out loud. It reminds me of one of those brainstorming sessions that we used to have at faculty meetings that ended up with a hodgepodge of unproven ideas being implemented in our classrooms. In other words we are in the midst of a global experiment, a giant science project that is still a long way from being able to draw definite conclusions.

I have little doubt that we will one day fully understand Covid-19 through the cooperative efforts of the world’s scientific community. In the meantime we have to accept the fact that in many ways we are still groping in the dark. The information is changing almost as fast as the numbers of infected souls. Our best bet is not to panic or allow our anxieties to overtake us but to consider the old folk wisdom that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words why tempt fate by risking our lives and those of others by flaunting our independence and right to choose how to live? We do not yet know what such libertarian ideas may beget so why would anyone be arrogant enough to suggest such a test?

I’m as confused by all of this as anyone must certainly be. In many ways it reminds me of an impending hurricane, something that threatens my neck of the woods each season from June to October. Most years my city is just fine but now and again one of those storms in the gulf heads our way and  we have to be prepared. We buy our water and food provisions and set aside batteries for our lanterns and flashlights in case the electricity goes out. We gas up our cars in the event that we have to make a quick escape. We make sure our wind and flood insurance is up to date. We board or tape our windows and maybe even purchase a gas powered generator. Then we hunker down and hope for the best.

Sometimes that old hurricane or tropical storm takes a turn and avoids us completely and we celebrate our good fortune. Other times it roars right at us leaving massive destruction and misery and we join together as a community to help those most affected rebuild their lives. Experience has taught us how to hunker down and ride out whatever eventually happens.

We have the same kind of cone of uncertainty with Covid-19, only this event is aimed at the entire world. For better or worse it would be irresponsible to simply ignore it. When our city, state and national leaders ask us to behave in particular ways for the good of our communities they are not overreaching to take away our freedoms. They are doing their best to insure our security. We have to remember that if any of us become ill because we failed to heed the warnings it will be first responders, medical personnel and the American taxpayers who will pay the cost of our defiance. No action in such a time is without consequences for many others. We don’t run a red light just because it should be our right to do so. Life is filled with restrictions set in place for the common good.

Who knows where this is going to end up? I sure don’t. All I can do is be patient. I know that I can seek the comfort of God without gathering in a big building. My freedoms are not dependent on making my own rules. I may be hunkered down with only my husband near enough to touch but I’m still part of a community. I plan to wait this out and not worry about whose theories have been right and whose have been wrong. We will have plenty of time to decide on that when all is once again clear. Take care.