Thoughts on the Pandemic

Written by  Christiane Marshall 

I wanted to write a factual article on the COVID19 crisis with fair perspectives from “both” sides. I had about 20 articles I wanted to draw from. And I have several drafts started. But, it’s all been said already. 

Writing that first sentence was startling.  

I mean the fact that there are two sides, two teams… wait, two opposing teams – or are there three or four? It is, well, disheartening. My heart cries out “but I thought we will get through this together?” 

I hate mud-slinging, name calling – even subtle name calling – you know when someone insinuates or by omitting something implies a negative? We may have words for it in the English language, or not, but I’m sure in your heart you know what it is I refer to. If I did find the word and use it, some might read something else into it, or if I gave an example, it might trigger a prepared defensive response. So, I’m leaving it right here. That we all know what I’m talking about. (I know that’s not good grammar. But it’s good communication because you get it.) 

I’m going to try and articulate what I really want to say about this mess: I don’t want to demonize anyone. I don’t want to decide who’s at fault. I want to deal with the now. I’m sure later on lawsuits will fly. There will be stories to tell, to listen to, to read about, even songs to sing. But now, the business at hand is people, hearts, restoration. 

Presently, so many are just ignoring all the craziness and doing their part – doctors and nurses on the front line, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, restaurant workers, people who are sewing masks or manufacturing face shields in their living rooms or in Makerspaces, neighbors and friends checking on each other. And then there are politicians – wait now – I speak of them as human beings okay? In comments, if you refer to a politician, I want you to remember they are humans with feelings, families, friends. I cannot imagine making the decisions they face right now with all of the responsibility they have — when people on “both” sides are unhappy with those decisions — and there is no playbook. I just. Can’t. imagine. 

I want to give a little disclaimer here. My perspective is my own. All of us at Marietta and Beyond do not necessarily agree. However, we listen to each other and have civil discussions. Have you heard of the trick some speakers use to remove fear when in front of a crowd? The one where they imagine the audience naked? I’m honestly not sure why that works. I think it would make me laugh.

But I do know that the trick for me to hearing an opposing argument and still caring about the person is to see the heart – to feel it. Maybe there is selfishness… or not, but who has not been there before? Maybe it’s a kind of blindness and nothing you say will clear it up. But then is it me who is blind, or you? Or both of us? We must ask those types of questions. Maybe it comes from being a mother of a large family. If you have had more than one child, can you remember a time when two of them were at each other’s throats? Your heart just melts with love for both of them. So, how do you help each one feel validated and loved while still putting down boundaries — especially when you must take sides because one child is crossing an important boundary of the other? I’m afraid I may have failed that test at times, and even today my heart breaks with certain memories of parental failure. But I didn’t fail the test of loving all of my children.  

Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around being so sure of myself about something so new as being in the midst of a pandemic. I’m both bewildered and awed by the fact that so many people are damn sure of their stance! The fact that there are doctors saying widely different things is both reassuring and frightening. Reassuring for me because I like to believe that doctors are scientists –still learning and evolving. And learning at this time is crucial. That brings me comfort. 

But it is frightening too because as a layperson, who do I believe? I find myself fascinated by reading and listening to videos on the latest about COVID19 – the stats, the science, the biology. I want to get it. I want to be damn sure too. But it comes down to this. I want to hear all of you. I want to listen, and learn more. And I want to err on the side of caution. But I’m tired right now. I have what you probably have – the pandemic slog. It’s that feeling of being in slow motion, yet days moving so fast you hardly accomplish what you used to in the same time period. It’s the days running into each other. But no one asks “What day is it today?” We ask ourselves. We’re all a bit traumatized, maybe. Please be patient with each other. 

In this issue is an article by our intern Kiteara Sinnett. She discusses how it feels to have an auto immune disorder right now. Please be kind when you comment. I want to listen, but I don’t want mud slinging and name calling, or insinuations of such. And she isn’t “just an old person who is going to die anyway” or “just auto immune compromised, so she should just stay home so we can party” – two of the phrases I’ve heard thrown around. (I’m sure many of those who expressed these things may regret saying them.) 

She’s a newly graduated high school student who lost out on her graduation ceremony and prom and band practice and many other things this year. And she’s losing out on that crazy sense of immortality we all seem to have in our teen years and into our twenties.  So let’s practice being nice ok? I know some of us are frustrated and tired of the way things are. I hear sadness and anger and confusion in the voices of those I have had conversations with lately. We all have our own fears of financial disaster and imminent losses of material things and of loved ones. Many already mourn. And we all mourn when we hear a tragic story, don’t we? We’re a community in mourning – in different stages of it. Let’s forgive each other.  Let’s move forward. Let’s lend a hand. 

Why not go out of our way to be kind and practice random acts of kindness to people you disagree with and those you agree with? Use words that edify and lift up. Fill each other’s buckets with good stuff. This is how the process of restoration begins. We don’t have to wait until it’s over. We can begin now by helping to mend hearts. When hearts are strong, bodies get strong. When bodies are strong, they have mental energy to tackle life. When souls tackle life, good things happen. 

#Be Strong. Marietta Strong. #MOV Strong. #America Strong.