Wow! Who would have thought we would be facing spring 2020 with words like coronavirus, social distancing and self-isolation, all now a daily part of our vocabulary. This self-isolation thing is a tough one for us “hug everyone” southerners, but we’re doing it. Not just in the south, but all over the world!
Plus, non-homeschooling moms are now homeschooling moms, every college student, not just those who choose to, are now doing school online, and zoom is on almost everyone’s computer. Toilet paper is a premium product and people are asked share with their neighbors. Who knew, right? Yes, life has a way of surprising even those of us who thought we had seen it all. We’re finding out, we have NOT seen it all!
It is scary times and different from other crises we have lived through. I say that to remind us that we have lived through tough times before. All crises’ have their similarities so we can draw from past experiences as we navigate this new one. Being one of the older generation, I may have lived through a few more than you have, but you have your list too.
It’s true, this one is different, but we can draw strength from what we have done in the past. The past always prepares us for the future, right? Remember the first time you jumped off a diving board. TERRIFYING. But, jump after jump, you got more and more comfortable. Soon, instead of climbing the steps up to the diving board shaking from fright, you ran up the steps, eager to jump and do it again. Going through anything prepares us and gives us important tools for getting through the next thing.
Here are some things we’ve learned from the past that I know are helping us get through this crisis, whether we consciously think about them or not.
- Back in the fifties and sixties, we were threatened with what was called The Cold War. It was a time of great tension between the United States and Russia. Our country didn’t know what Russia would do, so we often had drills in school in case our country was bombed with a nuclear device. The siren would go off at school and we all filed into the hallway or under our desks (dressed in our little ironed and starched dresses), hunkered down and covered our heads. I’m pretty sure the “duck and cover” plan would not have protected us from a nuclear bomb, but it did teach us to hunker down in times of trouble. This isn’t the time to run out and take advantage of the streets being empty, but it also isn’t time for us to panic. It’s time for us to hunker down in our homes and make the best of a difficult situation. We’re three weeks into it now, so don’t be tempted to give up. Find your space, hunker down, cover your head and sit it out. This is coming from someone who has a bad case of FOMO at all times, but I have to live with the fact that I am missing things right now and hopefully one of those things is coronavirus.
- My generation also lived through the measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Thankfully, due to vaccinations, your generation won’t see most of these. But, during these times, we were often isolated from the rest of the family, hoping to not infect them. Even our siblings were afraid to hang out with us, especially with those awful chicken pox (seriously, we looked scary!), so we learned to entertain ourselves with pencil and paper and a few crayons. Life is looking very differently things days, but we have so many more resources at our fingertips to keep us, not just entertained, but learning and growing. It’s an amazing time to be quarantined and I’m not saying that in a flippant way. It is true. We live in a time when we can facetime our friends!! Something my generation never dreamed possible! Wow! Amazing! But, it’s also a time to remember to use your words to inspire and encourage others. With social media, all of us are able to bring a message of faith and hope to the world. Use those tools wisely.
- Another crisis our country, well, the world, has lived through is war. For my generation, it was the Vietnam and Gulf War, but the generation before me can add World War II and the Korean War to their list. War times taught us to work together as a country for a cause that is bigger than each of us individually and one we may not totally agree with or understand. We may not all agree with the restrictions imposed on us at this time. We may have a thousand ideas in our heads of how we would have handled the whole crisis, but we can all agree that we need to work together if the problem is to be solved. If we ignore what is being asked of us to do, we are saying we don’t want to compromise and compromise is the key to overcoming any crisis.
- Here’s something you have possibly lived through. Natural disasters, like Katrina, and tornados and ice storms, often affect a part of our country. Some of happened even as we are dealing with corona. From these disasters, we’ve learned to help out our neighbors. I’ve already witnessed precious examples of teachers volunteering to facetime and help students, not just their own, but anyone needing help. Doctors and nurses are coming out of retirement to help and church members are volunteering to get groceries for older citizens. In our neighborhood, my son-in-law, Willie, has taken on the job of feeding my mom and two of my aunts and uncles during this time. It is true that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s not what we want, but it is what will make us better people, if we choose to let it.
- Here’s another type of tragedy that you have either experienced or know someone who has. It affects many of us and we learn lessons from each one. Death, disease, and divorce are tragedies faced by many and, from those events, we’ve learned that the sun will come up tomorrow. While we’re going through a crisis or tragedy, it’s not fun or easy or anything we want it to be, but it does pass and we do move on and life does go on. All those clichés we say really do come true. My family, your family, everyone’s family has lived through all of these to some degree and we’re still here to fight another day.
So, that’s it! Lessons we’ve already learned and can apply to the situation right now.
I’ve heard words like crazy, weird, unreal, and bizarre applied to our coronavirus crisis of 2020, and all of those are true, it’s strange times for sure, but I can’t wait to see all the “good” things that come from this time when we were forced to refocus. Many of us flipped the calendar to 2020 with the aspiration of “seeing God more clearly.” It was a natural life motto for this year. After all, who wouldn’t want to have 20/20 vision for God’s plan for our life in 2020?
While we didn’t expect a quarantine when New Year’s Eve rolled around last January, we do know that we can expect God to use anything that happens in our world for our good. Disruptions cause us to refocus and that isn’t all bad. It’s been said that many never change until forced, so let’s change something. Let’s allow this disruption to cause us to be better people. When our President says, “Everyone can go back to your normal lives,” let’s say “No, we want to go back to a better life.” And, that doesn’t mean better things or places to go or activities to do. That means a better way of seeing the world and loving our neighbors and honoring God and reflecting Jesus.
My prayers are with each of you as you make decisions about your future. Now, more than ever, let’s cling to this verse:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Hugs, 2 mama
Chrys Howard is the mother of three adult children, Korie Robertson, who is one of the stars of the A&E® hit TV show Duck Dynasty®, Ryan Howard and Ashley Nelson. She has fourteen grandkids, including Sadie. They call her 2-mama and her husband, John, is 2-papa. Chrys directs a Christian youth camp in the summer, spends time serving in the mission field, and hosts a weekly radio show titled It’s a Mom Thing. She has edited and co-written more than 100 books and is the author of nine books with more than 1,000,000 copies in print in six languages. Her more recent book is Rockstar Grandparent. Stay connected with Chrys on Instagram: @chryshoward, on her websites: chrysHoward.com and RockingItGrand.com, and Facebook: Chrys Shackelford Howard.