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Chatterbox: The necessity of mettle


There are always times when the people in charge don’t go forward in the best of faith. While some of our leaders tell us to go back to work, much of their family is obviously absent. That clearly denotes those leaders sense the danger. Still, some governors and national leaders don’t enforce full quarantine, driven by something more vital to them than the welfare of the general public or America’s sovereignty.

So, we must keep ourselves healthy and our country strong. That means as many of us as possible – anyone, who isn’t on the front lines of this COVID-19 battle – must retreat. The economic fallout can’t be avoided now, so staying alive is step one.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have safe shelter, food, water and, maybe, the company of loved ones, do feel the guilt of our good fortune. Most of us are concerned for all those who are handling critical situations and working to still deliver to us the essentials that sustain us. We may not know where to put those emotions. Even finding a way to soothe ourselves can just become something else we feel guilty about.

Two weeks ago, we talked about the other times in history when critical situations overtook large numbers of people. There are always those who have a limited response to the plight of others, but for those who can’t ignore it, it’s a difficult thing to move forward with. What can we do to soothe ourselves?

Many years ago, Chatterbox talked about a chart system that helps define and abate our stress over various situations. One of the boxes we were allowed to check was “Nothing, right now.” Sometimes, there isn’t much we can do, and some of these current conditions require us to check that “nothing” box.

For other things, there are some ways to find sanctuary. First, there’s the Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Prayer. Nothing else covers so much in so few words. It works for everyone in any situation, especially the part about accepting our limitations.

Going forward from there, containing the virus is the apex so we must stay home as much as possible and be as careful as possible when forced to go out. Keep track of new developments in how the virus is communicated and how, and what, to cleanse.

As much as we may feel responsible to not be among others, equally, we want to do what we can do for others at this time. Donate. Money online or through checks can support charities that help those suffering through this crisis in compromised situations or on the front lines in essential work – call particular charities for details.

Answer pleas for sewing, or phone shut-ins to chat. Check on neighbors by phone, especially the handicapped or elderly, at least daily, to ask about their health and changing needs. Pray. Praying for others or for ourselves can make us peaceful and lighten our burden. Also, as we remain aware and compassionate, it’s still okay if we let it go once in a while. It’s also okay to laugh or have some fun, and it’s imperative to normalize life for the children as much as possible. They, too, are feeling this; they will remember this and how we handled it.

At meals, we can share our gratitude with them for another safe day together; we can camp in the yard or have a bonfire. This crisis is all part of their life’s portrait now.

As far as getting lost in the sameness of each day, we should post the day somewhere – my daily vitamin box tells me what day it is. The date is another issue so hanging a calendar in the kitchen helps. It’s also good to get dressed every morning in clothes we like, and we can set at least one small goal for each day like cleaning out one drawer or cabinet. Plan video visits with family members and friends – that’s great distraction. Phone people, reconnect, or make some amends. Accomplish a long-lost goal – they’ll be lots of new novels next year. We might even work out a bit, and we can all start a garden; it’s nearly time, and it will eliminate having to bleach our basil from the supermarket. We each can pick our pastime.

Most of all, we must all stay strong – for our self, our loved ones and the world. We’re all fighting this virus, its impact and our emotions in our own way.