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Shocked

March 16, 2020

Another event—cancelled, postponed, put away, put aside. The stores are out of toilet paper? What?

 

I am shocked.

 

I might have been less surprised if it had been a computer virus. I’m always being warned about computer viruses. Norton keeps me in the loop.

 

But a virus that hits the body? Not at all expected.  

 

Yesterday I was told by a reliable source that there are four strains of the coronavirus. And today I read that there are actually seven coronaviruses. Really? A lot to process. Here's a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you'd like to read about it. Human Coronavirus Types.

 

Seems like there’s a new piece to the coronavirus every day.

 

Today, our governor shut down the schools in Arkansas for a week. Spring break will be the following week.

 

Makes sense if they’re trying to slow the spread of the virus. But that means adjustments for parents and children. Stress. Stress. Stress.

 

Stories rumble. People tell what they see and hear in grocery stores, in Walmart. I’m listening and it’s hard to take in.

 

You may know the first stage of grief is shock. Things are happening so quickly, and we can’t wrap our minds around it. Like with 911, we keep retelling the stories because we don’t quite understand. Just unbelievable.

 

Things we’ve never seen or heard before. Shelves, empty. Lines, long. We’ve heard that those stocking shelves in stores can’t keep up or they sold out the first hour after the truck was unloaded.

 

It is my hope that people will try to stay calm, to remember those who are vulnerable, to remind one another that we are isolating for a few weeks in order to “flatten the curve” and lessen the contagious incidents. It is a way to honor one another. It is a way to not overwhelm the medical system.

 

Anticipation. People’s fears grow higher and wider. People grieve loss of what? Control they thought they had, changes they’re having to adapt to, loss of routine? Probably, all the above.

 

My little country church met this morning. Of course coronavirus was a big topic. And I kept hearing one thing: This virus does not take God by surprise.

 

What was being said fit my Christian belief. We can trust that God is still in control.

 

We all need to think about what we do, of course. We can be concerned enough to wash hands, use sanitizers, keep a safe distance, not touch faces.

 

If you believe God has everything under control, try to believe we’ll roll through the next two weeks, three weeks, a month, toward summer and sunshine. Calm thought.

 

We humans do not have control over many things, but nothing takes God by surprise.

 

Changes are coming our way. I don’t want to underplay or overplay it. All changes are stressful. Changes equal stress. True whether we talk about a job change, loss of a babysitter, stone bruise on foot, or not being able to buy a paper product.

 

It’s so helpful to me when there’s a loss of any sort if I’m aware that I’m moving through a grief circle. (In my way of thinking, I see my country grieving.)

 

It begins with shock (we can’t believe it!), moves toward anger or upset (we are not getting what we want), then we bargain with God (if we can make a deal). Then, sadness hits. Deeper to depression for a short or long time. At last, acceptance.

 

This can be a slow process, a messy process. How we think dictates the movement. It can slide back and forth a little, we can get stuck in any piece of the process. Man, I hate that when it happens to me.

 

I want to speed it up by journaling, talking with encouraging friends, reading hopeful material. (Scripture helps me. It just reminds me of what is real, though I may not be able to see it with my eyes.)

 

I push myself to spend a little time being aware of the goodness that’s still in my world. A dog wagging her tail, a sunset, the way someone laughs, anything that delights me. Good medicine.

 

I want to stand ready to help another in need. A time for helping others.

 

When anxiety gets going, I need a comforting scripture. I read it and turn it into a mantra, saying it several times a day. Far better than letting my mind run rampant. If I can take a little control by just quoting a scripture, it helps. (This process works for most of us if we work it.)

 

If you do not have a favorite scripture but are a Christian believer, maybe one of these can comfort and calm you:

 

“And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God….” Romans 8:28, NKJV

 

“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV

 

“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid….” Isaiah 12:2, NKJV

 

Knowing and accepting the following five things is usually helpful and used by grief groups to bring peace to the mind:
 

  • All feelings (glad, sad, afraid, guilty, shame, anger) are okay to have.
     

  • All behaviors are not okay. We need to monitor behaviors and honor self and others.
     

  • Grief is normal when we lose routine, safety, or health.
     

  • Grief won’t go away by ignoring it.
     

  • We slide in and out of stages of grief. The goal is to keep moving toward acceptance.
     

I wish you peace.

 

Pat Durmon

(patdurmon.com)

 

Photo taken by Pat Durmon, 2020.

 

 

 

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