The last few months have been trying with the emergence of Coronavirus or Covid19. When it hit in December in China, most of us stood watching on the side-lines shaking our heads and saying how sad. We didn’t think it would cross the oceans let alone become a pandemic. Then it started moving and we watched it cross to Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea but still we weren’t too bothered until it reached Italy.
In our lifetimes, many of us have never seen an epidemic outside Asia and Afrika. We had HIV/AIDS in the 80’s and 90’s and Ebola more recently but the greatest impact was felt in the ‘third world’ as we are commonly called. This time it is totally different because Afrika has been spared the initial brunt of infection and death and the developed world has been ravaged in ways we cannot begin to understand.
The facts are that there are many infections and the most vulnerable ones are the elderly. The facts are that it is a viral pneumonia that the body has to fight. The facts are that the elderly and those with weakened immunity with underlying chronic illnesses are at greatest risk because what actually kills is the complications from underlying conditions. The facts are that the things all media houses are talking about is the infections and deaths but not those who recover. The facts are that the virus has no respect for persons, social position and wealth. True right?
So panic set in and hording started and it has gone south from there.
The fear and panic is what has my attention. It is tangible and palpable almost thick enough to cut with a knife. It is in every social media post and every new bulletin. It spikes when a presser is called by a health or government official and when a new patient is found. It rises when you go to the cupboard and see the packet of rice or the vegetables getting finished. It rises every few hours and it will continue to rise if we don’t find ways to deal with the fear.
Have I felt the fear? Yes. Some reading this would wonder why? Well, to be honest, as I watched the growing reach and rising numbers I couldn’t help feeling the fear for a bit wondering what was going on and why it was happening. I couldn’t understand why in this developed world such a pandemic would happen. I had watched a documentary on the Spanish flu a few weeks ago and the similarity between that and Covid19 were so insane. So yes, for a little while, I felt the fear and it almost became a crippling year.
My daily pattern is to watch international news as I work and so this fuelled the fear because it was the main story with different aspects and additions breaking all the time. Even the documentaries would be interrupted with updates and long winded conversations about the virus and its devastating nature, countries on lock down, people losing jobs and lives being forever changed. It rose to a peak very quickly and almost paralysed me before I pulled back to look at it. Yes, pulled back to look at it.
Was there another way of dealing with this fear?
Yes, there was another way. Remember the saying, feel the fear but do it anyway? I choose to analyse the fear that was building. Why was I so fearful? What did I stand to lose? As I looked within I begun to understand what was fuelling the fear. The very fact that I couldn’t determine how fast it would get here, would my nation suffer excessively in terms of people, economics and social realities. There’s also the matter of misinformation and fear mongering.
I needed to understand so I began seeking information on the situation; how many have died, how many have recovered, how many are in recovery. What are the conditions associated with rapid spread? What steps are countries taking to take charge? Who are the most vulnerable? What supplies are needed? How long are they setting quarantine? All the information I could find and a lot wasn’t being told publicly or as loudly as the scary side of the situation.
Simple things would save lives: wash hands with water and soap or use hand sanitiser, social distancing, less physical contact, get medical help if feeling unwell and isolate if you are confirmed.
The biggest thing that was scaring me was the reality that at least sixty percent of Kenyans and maybe Afrikans live on or below the poverty line and they would be the most exposed. Why does that bother me? Simple…they are our workforce. Do you have a nanny, housekeeper, gardener, security guard, driver, and caretaker? Where do you think they live?
Our people live in informal settlements with small houses without adequate ventilation, without running water and unable to afford hand sanitiser. They share bathrooms and toilets and are in such close quarters that if one gets sick, cross contamination is a given and guess whose house or workplace it is coming to?
While many are running around and hoarding, it is easy to forget those who cannot do the same. It is easy to be selfish and cater only to your needs and forget others need help. So if you have all the hand sanitiser and your gardener doesn’t have any, don’t you think it could come back to you? many of us cannot survive without our housekeepers yet we are not taking the care we need to about their lives and their health.
I asked my Father for direction, insight, contacts, sources, and true to form He came through.
There is a way God is that makes Matt 6:33 true, ‘…Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.’ It also brought James 4:2b-3 to mind; ‘…Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.’
I hadn’t been asking let alone asking amiss. I just sat in my corner absorbing information that caused terror in my heart. So I recalibrated and focused on asking my Father the questions in my heart. I needed peace and calm and He gave it. I needed insight, He provided it. I needed perspective and He gave it.
There is a peace that we must all come to because God is sovereign and he will always provide a way out. He will direct when to shop, how much, who to shop for, how to help the community. We can no longer live with the degree of selfishness and greed that has driven the world because it has and will continue to separate us and dictate how we treat people.
We can only stand out and be confident in our Father if we truly believe that He is more than able to do everything He says he will do and make good on His promise to care for us. The anchor has to be God because He is the only one who is steadfast through any storm in life. He is a sure support no matter what.
What do you need to ask Him that you will find your peace and anchor afresh?
The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees as I face the raging seas
The anchor holds in spite of the storm