I put off writing this column until the very last minute.
Mostly because I’m a procrastinator by nature, but it’s partly due to the fact that the news has been changing so briskly lately, even this last-minute effort will likely be out of date somewhat by the time it hits the stands.
Our country is experiencing an unprecedented two-fold crisis.
On one hand, we have the coronavirus, or COVID-19, the rapidly spreading disease that, as of Wednesday morning, had confirmed cases in three neighboring counties.
On the other side, our way of life is slowly being choked by the ever-changing guidelines being put into place by the Centers for Disease Control.
The U.S. economy has taken a blistering hit over the past week, with billions lost in the world markets.
The local level is not immune, and small businesses that make counties like Sunflower County go may end up being the hardest hit.
In larger cities, administrations are closing businesses like restaurants and bars.
We have not gotten to that level yet, for the most part, in Sunflower County, but it could very well come soon.
This past week, we saw the closure of our schools, multiple churches and high-traffic operations like the B.B. King Museum.
In the latter part of last week, shoppers raided local store shelves, buying up mass quantities of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, Lysol and soap.
The next few weeks may be some of the most uncomfortable Americans have faced in a while, but if everyone remains calm and civilized, it won’t be that bad, even if restrictions get as tight as they are in European countries like Italy.
President Donald Trump, as well as other leaders, have assured Americans over and over that there is no imminent threat of shortages when it comes to supplies, food and water.
As long as we have sustenance, roofs over our heads and water to drink, we will be fine.
A holding pattern will be uncomfortable, but it will be okay.
In the worst-case scenario, Americans might be asked to stay in their homes, avoiding contact with other people at all costs in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There have been a lot more dire requests of Americans throughout our near 245-year history.
Compared to quarantines across the centuries, this one shapes up to be about as comfortable as one can get.
Because of technology, many Americans have unlimited entertainment at their fingertips, through streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
Not in the mood for TV?
There are plenty of outdoors projects to occupy the time like gardening and landscaping.
There are thousands of books to be read, many accessible online.
There will be plenty of quiet time for prayer and meditation.
Families may have the opportunity to reconnect, disconnect, and then reconnect again throughout this process.
Most of us are still holding out hope that this situation will blow over, that somehow it won’t be as bad as the experts predict, but if it is, and we all avoid the virus through successful social distancing, then it could really be a time used for spiritual and personal growth.
It’s not a time to melt down and become uncivilized. Neither is it a time to withdraw and become reclusive.
Despite the lousiness of the situation, if we use our time of social distancing for good, we may all come out the better in a few weeks.