Whining at the wake-up call

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Mar 26, 2020

I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm generally healthy, I've had all the vaccinations a person my age is supposed to have, I have a loving spouse and I'm able to work from home. I also live with two affectionate and entertaining dogs.

And still, this social distancing, self-isolation stuff is really for the birds, as far as I'm concerned. It's all very well working from home for a day — even two — when a foot of snow falls overnight. That can even be fun. But when you spend day after day in the house, with no idea when it may be proclaimed safe to venture out again — that is anything but enjoyable.

Whine, whine, whine. We have a houseful of food and other necessities. We have high-speed internet, a smart TV, a boatload of games — in short, an embarrassment of riches. But tell me I can't go out, can't see a movie, can't get a meal in a restaurant, can't go to the office — and of course those are the very things I most long to do.

I'm used to being out and about in the community, whether interviewing people, doing household errands or having fun, so having several days in a row where I don't drive anywhere feels odd in the extreme. In just a week, it's gotten so the quarter-mile trip down to our mailbox feels like an adventure. By next week, going upstairs to bed will feel like visiting a foreign country.

Whingeing aside (at least for a moment), there are lots of people in the Midcoast who are truly putting themselves out for others: school district staff packing meals and delivering them to students who depend on subsidized breakfast and lunch programs, volunteers who are signing up to shop for elders and others who are at higher risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, or who are offering a friendly ear to others stuck at home and feeling anxious.

Everyone who listens to a parent stuck at home with the kids, who calls an older friend or relative or neighbor, who takes any action to help or support others in this time of uncertainty and high anxiety is making good use of this time and forging a stronger community for the time when the danger recedes.

Because it will. In two months, or three months, or eight months, we will look back and say, boy was that awful. Look at all we lost — lives, savings, businesses, infrastructure of various kinds. But I hope we will also have gained newly resilient systems, new friends and alliances and a renewed sense of community. The bottom line of this pandemic, the lesson no one can miss, as the number of cases grows and the death toll mounts, is that we truly are all in this together.

What happens anywhere in the world does not stay there, and closing borders can only do so much. While people anywhere are grappling with the catastrophic effects of a novel disease, people everywhere are at risk, involved. So it behooves people everywhere not only to do all they can to reduce the risk of spreading the infection, but also to do what they can to help their communities.

This crisis calls on us to reorder our priorities, to recognize that others have much to teach us and to remember that our community is only as strong as our compassion and solidarity. This illness is no respecter of privilege or party. It is a wake-up call like no other in recent memory.

Longtime Courier Publications staff member and columnist Sarah Reynolds is the editor of The Republican Journal.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 26, 2020 12:12

Stay safe Sarah. Here in AZ am home-bound and lucky me can walk a deserted sidewalk at this condominium where I reside. Stay safe Sarah...blessing abound for all.....Mickey +0(.....

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 26, 2020 11:36

Absolutely a wake up call, Sarah. Synergy: We are made to do this journey together while celebrating our differences. Betcha God does. ;)

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