This morning, I watched my go-to morning news program, shaking my head at what I saw and heard. Tony Dokoupil, a reporter I greatly respect and admire, was visibly angry and shut down his interview with Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary, because Azar refused to answer a question exactly the way Dokoupil wanted it answered. Three times, the Secretary was interrupted with the same question as he was trying to give the answer. Before Azar was able to fully finish, Dokoupil abruptly ended the interview. Azar wasn’t avoiding the question. He wasn’t playing politics. He was clearly giving a well-thought-out, systematic answer, but he wasn’t allowed to finish.
And this is where we are, folks. As Captain said in Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is…a failure to communicate.” Or is there too much communication without really saying anything that matters?
And it’s happening everywhere.
It’s no wonder everyone is confused about staying in or going out. Nobody knows who to believe or what to think. It’s like we’re all…
sinking into a vast oasis of quicksand, torn between struggling to get out or staying still until help arrives.
I have three daughters attending universities. All three schools are debating whether to close and hold online classes or continue with things as normal. For the record, my girls want to stay in school. They have class and labs and play practice and graduation practice and a whole host of other things going on. At the same time, I understand the school’s concern for its faculty and staff who are more susceptible to the virus than the kids are.
I have parents afraid to attend a funeral for a dear friend because of the amount of people who plan to be there. Almost all attendees are in the high-risk category, so who can blame them for being uneasy about going?
I have tickets to a festival and concert this weekend in DC and am concerned about the 800 families that attend Christ Church in Georgetown and were exposed to the virus by their pastor. How many of them will be at the Irish Festival, perhaps making and serving food or selling tickets? How many will be on the dance floor or serving drinks at the concert being held in a small venue where people will be packed in like sardines? Even as the number of people infected at the church service continues to grow, there are many who refuse to take precautions. Will I be exposed to them through their own carelessness?
Am I overthinking all of this? Honestly, I have no idea.
I have no idea just how likely I am to be exposed. I have no idea how likely I am to get sick. I have no idea how likely I am to spread the disease to my parents. And nobody seems to have the answer.
Oh, there are plenty of answers out there, but nothing definitive. One doctor says one thing and another says something completely different. An official tries to explain the current situation, and the reporter cuts him off because his answer isn’t alarming enough.
And I can’t help but wonder…
Whatever happened to common sense?
There are mothers unwilling to get their children vaccinated against the measles, but they’re stocking up for Armageddon because of a virus that many believe will dissipate once the weather warms. There are those who are stocking up on toilet paper as if it’s going to stop being produced. There are schools and businesses shutting their doors and sending everyone home because we haven’t had enough exposure to the disease to make us immune. Doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron?
I wish there weren’t suddenly fifty thousand health experts clamoring to give their opinion because that’s all they’re giving–their opinions, and none of them are the same.
I wish the politicians weren’t making this into an election year issue because that’s not getting us anywhere.
I wish the general public would realize there are protocols in place for this kind of thing and that the CDC and NIH are following those protocols. Just stay calm, and do what they advise, and don’t listen to every crackpot out there.
I wish we had real answers, not the answers that the press wants us to have–the ones that ensure panic and cause student riots and lead to toilet paper hoarding.
I wish more people would take my daughter’s lead and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. She sought out a blood bank and gave blood to help with the looming blood shortage.
But this is the world we live in. A world where it’s actually been said that the Chinese orchestrated this disease to take over the world. A world where false prophets claim this is the beginning of the end. A world where people would rather believe the worse than hope for the best.
And so I’m left with the knowledge that there is only one thing I can do, and that is to trust God. I will continue to practice good hygiene. I will pray for guidance when it comes to where to go and with whom to have contact. I will help my children not to panic or worry or live in a state of fear. I will talk to my parents about avoiding exposure. I will pray that our country, that all countries, will battle this with common sense, logic, and scientific evidence. I will pray that my loved ones stay healthy. I will pray that we quickly return to normalcy and not give in to irrational fear. I will take this one day at a time.
For now, that’s all any of us can do.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds” (Philippians 4:6-7).
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Riding the Roller Coaster of Parenting.
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy is available as a complete set for your Kindle and is also available on audio!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).