Today I had to take our 10 year old son to the doctor for something which needed medical treatment but was non-corona virus related. As we walked into the medical centre we were greeted by a red taped off line on the ground which we were requested to stand behind as well as a barrier preventing us from getting anywhere near the reception desk. There were also seats in the waiting room and outside areas marked with more red tape so you couldn’t sit near others, which is now required with social distancing rules.
As we waited my son turned to me with a perplexed look on his face. “Everyone looks so scared in here Mum” he said, “You can really feel fear in the room.” I agreed with him and gave him a hug, and we proceeded to discuss how we can overcome fear and worry and handle our feelings of anxiety. The result of our discussion was that everyone, and especially the elderly people walking past us received a beaming smile and a wave hello from our son, which was met with a smile and nod of thanks. As he smiled, made eye contact and greeted as many people as he was able to I wondered why as adults we weren’t able to do the same?
Repeatedly the receptionist would call loudly and abruptly from the safety of her desk to new patients coming in the door, to state where they had been and if they had any particular symptoms. Many of these people were elderly or frail and some couldn’t hear well, which left everyone feeling a little awkward and unsettled in the waiting area as they were forced to listen to each exchange. To add to the unfortunate atmosphere we were having to listen to a loud discussion between staff about how everyone was going to get sick… the everyone statement I took exception to. When we eventually saw the Doctor we were asked to sit on seats lined up against the wall, with more red tape keeping us at a metre or more distance from the Doctor.
Aside from my thoughts on the corona virus and people’s reactions, what I realised today is the importance of how we choose to handle a crisis. Everywhere we went today; to the library, supermarket and medical centre we were met with taped off areas, stressed and panicked looking individuals and people seeing each other as an eminent threat, rather than fellow members of their community. Few are smiling, warning signs are everywhere, people are feeling judged by what is in their shopping trolley’s and fear is palatable. Now a lot of people would say, “Well stay at home”, which is all well and good until you have to go out, and especially if you have to take children.
The thing is, little eyes and ears are listening and watching us, and you can be sure they won’t remember much about the corona virus apart from the toilet paper frenzy and how it felt to see people pulling away from one another, fighting over food and talking over and over about how bad everything is and generally freaking out.
For their sake I’m hoping and praying we will start to do better. That we will all choose to put our faith and trust into gear, believe for God to protect and see us through, control what we can control graciously and with kindness, encourage and look after one another and generally be the people we are all capable of being.
For the sake of our children let’s step up and try to do better. Because long after this virus has disappeared, our children will still remember how it felt to either see us pull together as we behaved wisely, graciously and in faith or they’ll remember the world freaking out. The choice is our’s.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.’ (Psalm 56:3)
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God , in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
Prayer: Lord please give us the grace and wisdom to control what we can control and to leave the rest in your capable hands. Thank you that you are control. In Jesus name Amen.