When faced with the kind of wolf we may not necessarily be able to keep from the door, it falls to us as Mistress of the house not to panic before it is quite clear that panic is necessary.
While precautionary measures may well be an order, sending oneself into a hurricane of anxiety long before there are Corona Virus addled zombies walking the streets, and rushing out to buy preposterous amounts of loo roll, face masks. Pot Noodles (!) and anti-bacterial hand-wash in a greedy grab rarely seem among the civilised, strikes me as extremely likely to cause more problems than it solves, adding to the kind of hysteria that will render one’s head so noisy there will simply be no room for common sense to prevail. And it is ONLY common sense that stands between us and the panic-fuelled Armageddon we will deeply regret having wished upon ourselves.
Yesterday, somewhere on the interwebs I saw a plea for us all to politicise this virus. To think not about ourselves, nor about life within our own four walls, but to rise up politically and demand change! And take action! And shout it from the rooftops that we are going to die and SOMEONE (who?) needs to do something about it NOW! To rally supermarkets and schools and petrol stations to save us! To treat each other with suspicion. To blame Boris and Trump and the whole of China. And probably Iran. And maybe Italy? And possibly the Chinese chippy on the high street and the kid from who knows where in your daughter’s class! To blame them all and rage against them for rage it seems is the only answer!
And something inside of me went quiet. Still. While I tried to tune in to where I stood in the midst of these kind of demands. How it would be possible for me to add my voice to this debate without contributing to the suspicious hysteria written between the lines. But there were no easy answers.
Because a pandemic strikes me not as political, but as human. And the human response has to be a meeting of minds, and trust in those with real power to solve the most immediate of issues, but not being quick to allocate blame, create the most insular of immediate boundaries nor advocate the kind of demented hoarding designed to pit us against each other which all seems uniquely self-defeating when in reality, common sense tells me that the answer as always lies not beyond our own four walls but within them.
*In creating the Caution Closet so wisely predicted as probably necessary in changing times, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, but not hoarding manically at the expense of others.
*In teaching and practising the art of hand-washing not just in times of crisis, but always and whenever and ALWAYS.
*In not adding to the kind of hysterical rhetoric that instils real fear in those who are little or anxious.
*In encouraging a simple common sense approach to the containment of virus: staying home instead of going to work, avoiding gatherings of any kind, large or small, when there is a family member suffering anything even remotely resembling infection, and keeping children with the merest hint of a temperature at home, (Particularly, as the number of parents willing to sacrifice the spread of illness for the sake of a perfect attendance record never ceases to outrage me. Ye Gads.).
*In practising good housekeeping. Understanding the power of simple soap and hot water and its ability to keep disease at bay. In NOT scrubbing the house to within an inch of its life with toxic chemicals but instead creating the kind of routines that mean any virus daring to show its face inside your house is quickly met with simple and persistent good hygiene practises.
*In making allowances for inconvenience. For the doctor’s surgery needing to close for a deep clean and your children’s school insisting on the self-isolation of those who may be at risk. In the postponement of social and sports events, and the palava of having to re-think travel arrangements. In understanding why some things simply have to be, and enduring them without complaint.
*In minimising our own exposure to trashy news sources (I’m talking to YOU, Facebook!) and dealing not in propaganda, hysteria or the commercialisation of a virus people are dying from.
*And finally in placing trust in those working so incredibly hard to minimise the impact of the virus on us all. In not politicising, nor dramatising that which requires practical and affirmative action and preventative measure. And in finding faith in our God, the universe, science and the medical profession.
As always, the answer to me, is home.
Go home and love your family. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.Mother Teresa
While Doomsday is far from inevitable, should the situation escalate before it can be contained, then home will be all we have. It may for a short while be the the only source of refuge, sanity and entertainment we can safely have access to, and there is nothing mean-spirited, nor unintelligent in focusing our efforts on making sure that should that day come, we are prepared for something we have to choose to see, for all our children’s sakes, as the adventure, and the lesson, of a lifetime.
If needs be then, stay home and love your family. Cast your stone and believe everything is going to be OK. Because as sure as eggs are eggs, it will be.