Over the past week, I’ve had conversations with many of you about the “new normal” we find ourselves in. This past week was weird for us all: It felt shapeless. Without the routine of going to work or dropping the kids at school, I felt unmoored. What day is it? How am I supposed to feel? Do I freak out? Go about as if this is business as usual? Is it somewhere in the middle?
To answer those questions, I started by summarizing the problem. We are waiting on the news to turn and the virus to reach its peak.
COVID-19 is like a video that goes viral on Facebook. One person sees it and shares it with their network, who then shares it with their network, and the next thing you know 5 million people have seen a cat video. Only this time, it’s a virus. It is frightening to think about what this virus has done to the global economy. We don’t know what the final tally will be, but we know it is going to be big. Big from the perspective of the impact on unemployment, corporate revenues, GDP, and stock prices.
As we begin to digest what life will look like after this virus passes, I am certain of two things: 1) The virus will pass, and we will develop a vaccine and treatment to deal with future outbreaks of COVID-19. 2) Our economy will come back, the question is when. We are a resilient nation. We have come back from two world wars, a Depression, dozens of recessions, terrorist attacks, and even global pandemics.
Knowing these two things, I realized there is a choice we must make today. When things are out of control, people tend to forget they still have choices. Even with working at home, distance learning, and job loss: We still have a choice. That choice is between faith and fear.
Today is the day to choose Faith!
So how do you choose faith? You can start by not listening to the negative news programs or watching the rolling death tolls. Instead, look for the positive. I’m not saying to ignore the risk associated with Covid-19. Quite the opposite.
As weird as it may sound, I find the atomic bomb to be a useful analogy to our current state.
When the world was worried about the next bomb being dropped, they didn’t cower in fear. If we were going to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon, we would be destroyed doing sensible human things: reading, writing, working, praying. It would not find us huddled together like frightened sheep.
So it goes with this virus. If contracted, the virus may destroy our bodies. But for those at risk, and for the rest of us in isolation, it does not have to dominate our hearts and minds. COVID-19 test results are only one part of our health and well-being.
Ask yourself if what you are watching and reading. Is it feeding your fear or your faith? To get you started with positivity, here is the great C.S. Lewis discussing how he transitioned to life in the nuclear age:
In one way, we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the 16th century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.
No one could have predicted this virus or its impact on the global economy. And there are still many unanswered questions. But this is a moment that humanity has faced many times before, and every time we have come through them stronger because we choose Faith and not Fear!
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