To quote Rudyard Kipling, “The strength of the pack is the wolf. And the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
That philosophy works in the wild. Making sure no one is left behind. That each member plays to their strengths. That the good of the whole takes precedence over any one individual.
I’ll admit – I am no expert on public policy. Nor diseases.
So, I’m not much help these days for decision-making on a larger schematic than my circle of influence.
But, recently, I was thinking back to being a lowly college student.
Using the internet meant that you also brushed up on your solitaire or minesweeper skills, waiting on the next page to load. My kids couldn’t quite paint a visual image the other day when I told them that the internet wasn’t worth accessing all the time. I was either checking e-mail (that no one used) or checking on my first fantasy baseball team (circa 1999), and mixing in the occasional research for an assignment.
Do you remember the “emergency” that never was, or at least never came to have the impact that was predicted? It was referred to, in short, as Y2K. The “Year 2000.”
The fear became that, since computers were programmed in two-digit years (’96, ’99, etc.), when January 1st of the year 2000 hit, the language would confuse circuit boards across the globe. Not only would you lose anything saved (since the computer would interpret the change in date as being 100 years ago), but the systems would cease to work. Any system that ran on any computer technology – from your personal AOL chat room to hospital ventilators or even NASA codes – would just shut down.
The world’s response then reminds me a lot of what we are looking at right now.
One of your co-workers is on Facebook right now talking about “the man” and how he’s now looking into our cell phone logs for the last 10 years and “tightening the grip.”
Your cousin says this is all an overreaction to a hoax. That more people died of dysentery on the Oregon Trail than of Covid-19.
Your neighbor looks like they may be an extra in Red Dawn. Digging a new, hand-drawn well for a water supply, buying up 5-gallon buckets of dried beans and grain, and stockpiling ammunition for the possibility of the Apocalypse.
Which one is right?
Probably all of them. And none of them. At the same time.
To me, this article in The Atlantic did a good job of arguing a perspective on it that might keep us all sane.
If we really are overreacting to this disease – how will we ever know? Because if the reaction – the social distancing efforts to flatten the curve (like how I got both buzz phrases in one sentence?) – was successful, won’t it eventually look like it was unnecessary? The only way to know if we are overreacting is to NOT react, then see if we regret it later.
I told you – I’m no help here. Just a guy with a keyboard and a few minutes here and there to spare.
There are things here that I hate have happened. People have lost jobs – or have had their income adversely affected at the least. Kids have lost time in school. Seniors in high school have lost memories. Baseball, softball, tennis, track & field, and soccer players have lost experiences that they worked hard to prepare for. The economic impact of this shut down will take years to quantify.
The only way to know if we are overreacting is to NOT react, then see if we regret it later.
But, there are also things that I have loved watching play out on social media.
I see you out there. Going fishing with your kids. Cooking full meals at home. Packing and delivering school lunches to local families. Making sure that your small community businesses are taken care of. Worshiping more often during the shutdown via technology than you might have been going to church in the weeks and months prior to it. Or, like us, setting aside time each night for family Bible study.
Imagine if our pack shifted the focus from what we should or shouldn’t be doing – as a community, school district, state, or nation – and looked instead and what we can be doing. I think getting stronger would be inevitable – both as individuals and as a whole.
In a letter written by the brother of Jesus, the argument is made (James 4:1) that most of the strife we face can be traced back to our own individual selfishness (and/or lack of self-awareness).
But like I said, I don’t know much anyway.
I do know that it’s usually true for me. When I lack perspective about myself, I’m not as good about keeping perspective on everything else.
Once you get through the noise, I’m a sinful person. And I am grateful for God’s grace and mercy that absolves me of all of it, undeserved.
If I can pray for you during this time (or any other time), just drop me an email. My personal email address is TNGregScott@gmail.com
But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6