I am experiencing sadness today. I have experienced sadness during the Coronavirus pandemic previously, but this is a “new” kind of sadness today. How so? I realize that 2020 could be one of the most painful years in my forty years. Not because of Coronavirus sicknesses, deaths, and loss of jobs and money for so many. Oh, yes, I grieve that and will continue to do so. I know that.
But what I realized today brought up a different reason for my sadness.
Due to our own deep-seated anxiety as a society in general, we are most likely about to hit a massive—and I mean massive—complication as we move forward in the coming days, weeks, and months. It has already reared its ugly head—in the news, on social media, and the like. And this whole thing is very connected to political partisanship.
What is this problem?
It’s the major divide over the question of when we should return to some sense of normalcy in society.
Should it be May 1st? Or mid-May? Or June 1st? Or an even later date?
And by “return,” I obviously do not think we will return to any full sense of normalcy for quite some time. I imagine it will happen some months after a vaccine is discovered for Covid-19. And the estimates are 12-18 months in total to uncover that vaccine. My guess would be that any real normality will not be present until sometime in the spring or summer of 2021. It could be that a date such as June 1st of this year is when social distancing begins to loosen a bit. Maybe. And I stress maybe. Then we will only slowly move back to opening businesses, of which many people will still feel uncomfortable eating at a restaurant, working out at the fitness center, attending a church service, meeting at a coffee shop, etc. Large gatherings like concerts and sporting events—we are, I think, far from moving into those spaces. Again, I won’t be surprised if it’s early to mid-2021 until we consider ourselves out on the other side of Covid-19 in any full sense.
I could be completely wrong. I am ok with that. Not ok with a long-standing stay-at-home mandate. I, like all of us, desire to get back to some normality. I really do—maybe even more because I’m an extrovert. But I’m ok if my above timing guesstimates are off.
But that’s just it. This is the when question that I think so many are going to fight over. An all out verbal (perhaps physical?) onslaught.
We are actually already fighting. It’s been going on for just over a month now. Whether it’s your average Joe’s and Susan’s or news outlets or political leaders. The anxiety is rising and the fighting is raging. If Covid-19 is unprecedented for our time (not world history, but unparalleled in our lifetime), I would think the anxiety levels are hitting unrivaled levels in America, and will continue to rise as we move forward.
Some will argue for an earlier date for society and businesses to open. Some will push for a later date. Some will contend for a later date than the later-date group.
Anxiety levels will go up. The shouting will get louder and the listening will recede further, like the tide heading back out to sea.
And this is where it gets political. Just about everything in America gets politicized. So let’s just call a spade a spade.
For those who want an earlier open date, guess on which side of the political line they stand?
For those who want a later open date, guess on which side of the political line they stand?
I don’t need to post an answer here. You already generally know.
Throw into the mix a national election in early November of an already politicized situation and the A-bomb (anxiety-bomb) that will be released over the next six to nine months could be unlike anything we have ever experienced. I don’t want it to be that way. I want to pray it isn’t true. But my faith is small right now. Or perhaps I am seeing something clearly.
Hence, I am sad. Very sad.
I don’t think I’m even fully in touch with that feeling right now. I only know it’s growing, especially today.
Sadness is the feeling of loss and grief. I grieve what I have already seen and experienced these past few weeks. There’s a loss of reasonable prudence for many. Not that I don’t understand passion (or anger) that people hold to—on both sides. Whether we like it or not, there are valid things to consider on both sides here. If one doesn’t believe so, then I would venture to say that person has their eyes shut with hands over ears, all the while shouting very loudly. Like a three-year old.
But I can understand passion and anger. It is common to the human race and is not inherently wrong. But the vitriol that is sprayed from one person to the another, the rage expressed from one platform to the other, that’s the deep problem. It’s painful. So very painful. And it seems that, while the Covid-19 curve will begin to dip, something else will continue to rise as we fight over the when question.
Hence, I feel a real sense of loss. I am also fearful of what this all means over the coming months. Yes, I worry at times about how long we will be shored up in our homes with life diminished as we know it. I, as you, am doing my best to partake in practices that keep me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy. I have some successes; other days are failures. Yet, beyond my own little corner of the world in my home, I grieve and fear for what may become.
Can we change our pathway forward? Maybe. Ok, yes, I think we can. But I’m not sure we want it. We are too well-trained in our anxious-ridden responses one to another.
My prayer is that God do something deeply and mercifully in our midst, lest we walk through something that may be even more unprecedented than Covid-19.