The response to the coronavirus the past few weeks has caused an upheaval in our day-to-day lives. With most of us sitting at home, under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, we’re being asked to do one of the hardest things you can ask of an American: Do not panic and be still.
It’s easy to say, but it is against our nature. As a society, we are drawn to action, change, growth, and hard work. We are a defiant nation that stands up to oppression, and values our individuality and freedom above all else. If you’ve been grieving due to these values being ripped away from you, you’re not alone.
It is drilled into us that we must be self-sufficient, to not rely on the government for handouts, and to be prepared to take care of our families through our own hard work and planning, but now we must put our trust in the supply lines and resist the urge to hoard supplies. It’s not easy—it took more willpower than I’d like to admit to not buy an extra two cans of refried beans simply because they were the last two cans on the shelf.
This disaster isn’t like a hurricane or tornado. We can’t come together as communities and pull up our sleeves, working hand-in-hand to quickly rebuild. We are stuck in our homes, apart from our communities, with news getting worse day-by-day. It’s easy to find excuses or reasons that “the orders don’t apply,” or “my trip is essential,” or “it won’t hurt just this once.”
Being still isn’t in our nature and it isn’t easy or simple. This is our chance to save lives; to help get the economy back up and running. It’s our chance to be a small part of the biggest mobilization and disruption that we’ve ever had. This is our chance to do our part, be heroes, and to look back at this moment with gratitude and pride.
I won’t tell you that it’s just working from home. I’ve been working from home for six years and it’s nothing like this—it requires much more than a few changes to your routine. Forgetting something from the grocery list is a bigger deal if going through that checkout line again is dangerous. It requires each and every one of us to find a strength that we didn’t know we had, throw out all our instincts, and change just about everything about our lives. Perhaps hardest of all: We must be patient.
This is our moment to shine, and our seemingly small acts of social distancing, handwashing, and responsible shopping are in a very real way more heroic and impressive than the iconic acts of heroism that we would undertake in a hurricane or tornado. So please, dig in and do your part.