If you would have told me one month ago that we would all be sitting in our homes, restaurants closed, people out of work, parties and events canceled, and on the precipice of a national quarantine; I would have laughed in your face. One month ago I was going about my usual business. I was running errands, having coffee with friends, commuting into DC for volunteer ministry work, and preparing and looking forward to a long awaited Caribbean vacation. Now here I am, one month later, my husband locked in our tiny home office doing what work he can from home, and me scribbling away my thoughts and anxieties. How long will this last? Will I be able to travel and see my parents again? Will it be safe to see my in-laws? Does my dog have enough food? Do we have enough food?
I was seven years old and in the second grade when 9/11 happened. I vividly remember it. I vividly remember coming off the school bus after a normal day of school and seeing a line of cars and anxious parents waiting at the bus stop. This was usual, normally we all walked home on our own. I lived in Massachusetts back then, and our school system chose to keep us all in school for the day. Every one’s parents quickly ushered them to their cars and swiftly took them home. My mother was there, which was highly unusual.
It was a Tuesday, she always worked on Tuesday’s. At our house, my dad was pacing back and forth, the television was on. That was when I saw it. Did I understand it? No. I shrugged, and went about my day. Tuesday’s were also the days my parents hosted a small Bible Study group in their home. It was always a pleasant time, sometimes we had cookies and snacks! That night, our house was packed. When Bible study was over, everyone quickly went home, and we all sat in front of the television. At the time I didn’t understand what was happening, I knew it was bad, but I didn’t feel fear. My parents were always very good at explaining things to my brother and I in age appropriate ways. The next day I went back to school, and the next, and the next, and the next.
I think we all can agree, that everything changed after 9/11; just as everything is changing now. Things are changing. Things are going to change. I sit here now wondering if things will truly ever go back to normal. Is this one of those life altering, world changing events like 9/11 was?
This, I believe, is the first major event that has affected my husband and I personally since we have gotten married. This is our first real hardship. It’s a hardship because of the uncertainty, anxiety, and the adjustments. I know we will be ok, I know this because despite the scariness of this all, there has been an outpouring of love unlike that I have ever seen. If it hadn’t been for my husband’s levelheadedness and calmness, I probably would have been a panic shopper. Just when I was ready to go out and rush to the grocery store one more time two weeks ago, he sat me down and went through the refrigerator himself and wrote down all that we had. We had more than enough. When I cried, feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, he reminded me of all I had done. I have seen love in other places besides my husband. I have seen it in the community as well.
When I’ve absolutely had to go out, the people I see at the local stores are still smiling, I’ve even noticed more “pleases” “thank you’s” and “excuse me’s”. When I’ve taken the dog for a walk around the neighborhood, I saw the faces of neighbors I have never met before, all of whom wanted to talk and chat from the safety of their front porches. It has been extremely nice to see the pleasantness and neighborly love of others, but it has also been extremely eerie.
Thing’s are never going to be the same. This changes everything.
After 9/11 the TSA was formed and became the norm and standard at airports around the country. Security now is in place in airports around the world. Travel brought this virus into the lives of nearly every person on this Earth. Will it change how we travel? Will life return to that of the days of Ellis Island in which medical inspections will need to take place for people wishing to enter a country? In addition to making customs claims, will we have to have our noses swabbed, blood drawn, or our temperature taken? Who knows. I do not believe there is any going back from this.
Despite the ominous feelings I have, though, I want to cling to the good. To the love I have seen during this time. Let us not forget Love. Love is what is going to get us through this. Love is what is going to motivate us to stay home, social distance, self quarantine. Love is what is going to be our driving force, because we have to love our neighbors. I also have a hope for the future, a hope that all of this disease and hardship will be done away with. A hope that I pray for every single day. Revelation 21:3,4
Stay safe my friends