Hope for The Road Ahead

It’s only been one month (March 11, 2020) since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic. Only one month – the impact has been dramatic. At first, the news reports were frightening and bleak, however, we have begun to see glimmers of hope.

April 9 @ a local SamsClub

The current COVID19 models seem to prove the wisdom and effectiveness of “social distancing”. Store shelves, initially emptied by panic buying, are gradually refilling. Although most businesses are still shuttered unless they are considered “essential”, those remaining open to the public are doing a good job reorganizing their stores so that we can shop safely.

We hear that schools may remain closed for the semester but these new full-time at-home parents are learning how to be homeschool teachers. They are gaining an understanding of and deeper appreciation for the teachers of their children.

Group assemblies for church services are still on hold – even for Easter. However, churches are being innovative by utilizing technologies to provide worship and connection opportunities for their congregations. In addition, these technologies provide opportunities for churches to extend beyond brick and mortar facilities as links to services and support are being shared by individual congregants through personal social media accounts

Hospitals and medical personnel became stretched to a near breaking point. Reports of military ships, convention centers, parking garages, even tents being equipped in order to accommodate an anticipated surge remind us of the innovation, resilience, and determination of human beings. The health care system has been overwhelmed, consumed, and stretched frighteningly thin but it has not been broken.

When Personal Protection Equipment for our medical personnel became insufficient to meet the needs, hundreds, if not thousands, of sewing machines began humming along, producing and donating mass qualities of cloth face masks to be used by medical personnel as covers for PPE. Then when the CDC recommended that the general population wear cloth face masks in public, countless social media links popped up providing free instructions for both sewn and no sew masks crafted from tshirts, bandanas, coffee filters and shop towels.

Manufacturing businesses, from automobile assembly lines to distilleries, retooled factories and began producing ventilators, face shields, and sanitizer. We hear about smaller organizations with 3D printers producing and donating face shields while other grassroots, social media-fueled efforts are dedicating their resources to fill the gaps.

Travel remains restricted – some governors advising residents to stay within their own state. Many state and national parks remain closed as at-home families looking for things to do unintentionally created crowded social-distancing unfriendly conditions. But people adapt. Jigsaw puzzles are being puzzled. Photographers, as volunteers, are going door-to-door creating porch photographs capturing images of the residents during this unprecedented moment in time.

Humbled by this experience, we are thankful for all these glimmers of hope. I must confess that at times we have found ourselves discouraged. Fearful. Reeling. It has been hard to wrap our heads around this. I mean, we are healthy. We are strong. We have no underlying health conditions and yet we are labeled “at-risk” just because of our age(s). Under these outrageous circumstances, age isn’t a plus.

However, one of the advantages of being old(er) is that we’ve lived through some “stuff”. While we’ve never lived through anything like a pandemic, we do have some experience with facing uncertainty, disappointment, fear and making it – sometimes by only being able to slowly crawl – to the other side.

Once you’ve lived through some “stuff”, you start to realize that there is always another side. You may not know what the other side looks like, it may not be what you had envisioned, but there is another side. Humans are resilient, resourceful, innovative and we will manage whatever shape that other side takes.

Funny thing: I have remembered that I don’t have to have paper towels to clean and am embarrassed by my wasteful habits. I have started planning menus and shopping trips, and have realized how much time I waste by always being on the go.

Speaking of “on the go”, how does all this affect our plans for road trips, for experiencing national parks and the beauty of our country? For now, circumstances require that we push pause.That we wait to see what the other side looks like. That we be willing to retool our plans, if necessary.

Just had to – just had to create a cat face mask.

And while we wait and watch the continually changing realities of our world, we must not be idle. From the safety of our home, we have embarked on projects that we find satisfying, productive and even entertaining.

The Enneagram 8 is spending his days building steps up a very slippery slope, converting the unusable into usable. And the 7 is sewing and creating ways to keep potential emotional darkness at bay by crafting some fun.

TheRoadAhead.us was conceived during our 2020 trip to New Mexico. As we brainstormed ideas, we decided this should be a means to communicate not just travel photos but also to encourage people to keep moving forward on the road ahead.

Life is precious – let’s live it to the fullest. Let’s continue traveling the road ahead – even if it’s within the beauty of our own backyard.