The Changes We Can Make Amid COVID-19

Throughout the public sector

non-essential operations have been suspended during this health emergency. The libraries have canceled programming and are open only for the pick-up and drop-off of books. Public schools are now closed. Religious and private schools are closed. Most public religious services are suspended.

And while cancellation after cancellation pours in while shelves continue to empty out, more goes on beneath the surface of anxiety and pantry stocking. Dollar General has begun an hour reserved for senior citizens to shop from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every morning.

City employees continue to work and carry out their essential functions such as public safety, water and sewer, customer service and more. 

Addressing the needs of the private sector

the Lions Club, a recent addition to the Hughson landscape, seeks to help the elderly men and women of our community by picking up supplies from the store. Those in need can contact them through the Hughson Lions Facebook page or a member of the club with a name, phone number, and address of the seniors in need.

Social media, often considered the source of manufactured rage or fake news, becomes a hub where concerned citizens have offered grocery runs to neighbors or to help with supplies when possible. 

Facebook groups like Hughson Moms and Catholic Moms of the Central Valley offer online social opportunities and outreach to each other. Parents who find themselves suddenly required to homeschool their children share moments of solidarity and humor online, while already-homeschooling parents offer their tried-and-true experiences. Some stay-at-home-mothers make offers to watch children whose families are unable to find childcare.

What about the personal sector? 

There is a choice to be made, now more than ever. How will we face the current crisis? Some question its gravity. Others are in a panic. What we can control is right in front of us. I can decide to stay-at-home with my family.

I can decide whether or not to be filled with fear or to mitigate that fear by asking myself, “what am I afraid of?” and get to the heart of it. Because fear looms large when it is not identified. When it is named, only then can it be tamed.

I have to discern the right words to share with my children. I have to discern when my thoughts circle too strong around one point. Name the point. And move on. 

My husband’s places of work are all closed. It is the same for many others. I was already swimming in the sea of social media and news updates. The more chaotic the world seems, the more, I think, maybe a schedule will help.

Mornings: a ten-minute meditation while I nurse the baby to quiet my thoughts and prepare my heart for the day.

I can read the news and do my work in the mornings while assisting my children with their schoolwork. We set in place work-from-home hours for my husband for the remote teaching put in place by his employers. Those hours include a break midday for me when he holds the baby.

We will eat meals together. I will set my computer aside in the afternoons. 

We will pray together and read together in the evenings. It interrupts the free-falling action of the day that sometimes occurs with spring-fevered children at home without access to their usual playmates and favorite librarians.

It is still Lent.

Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash

And in the reflection of what these sacrifices mean, I call into question how I am receiving the present suffering. Do I remember that the world is a bigger place than my little home, that it has a past that goes far back beyond me and a future that will stretch far beyond this moment? Connecting to a sense of the transcendent puts into perspective this moment. 

As does finding meaning. These hard times, from wherever the hardship comes, brings into focus the things that matter most to our hearts and if they might, perhaps, need some reordering.

With hope and humility, I am going to try.

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