Okay, what’s with the run on toilet paper, people?
Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around this one. Apparently, scientists are not suggesting that ‘the runs’ are part of Coronavirus. Perhaps people are afraid of being quarantined in their homes, and fear running out of essentials. (The good news for me is that most people, apparently, do not consider bacon an essential.) And besides, when one can’t get out of the house, there are online vendors who will cheerfully drop necessities on your doorstep!
The sense of fear among many people around Coronavirus is unprecedented. Almost 20 years ago, when SARS was running rampant, there wasn’t this kind of trouble finding things like toilet paper.
The SARS phenomenon occurred a long time ago, and social media as we know it today didn’t exist. I suspect that it may be playing a role.
Until the last few days, I was <ahem> poo-pooing the whole matter. But then the World Health Organization declared that Coronavirus is a pandemic. Flights are being cancelled. School is being delayed in some places. Professional sports are postponing their seasons indefinitely.
This is a serious matter – more serious than I was initially prepared to believe. People are getting very sick, and some are dying from Coronavirus. And it’s important to take precautions, but for most of us, these precautions are normal precautions: handwashing, for example…and staying home if you are sick with any communicable illness.
Coronavirus is not the end of the world. In my opinion, we should not be cancelling our worship gatherings, nor most of our regular activities, because of this concern, provided we take careful precautions. We should expect people to be responsible adults and avoid public interaction if they are ill, and to wash their hands often to avoid communicating any kind of illness to others. I’ll admit that this may be unusually optimistic, and I’ll certainly be monitoring the matter in my own congregation and life.
It’s wise to avoid hoarding things like soap and hand sanitizer, since we all need such substances in order to maintain public health.
And we should trust the Lord to be our Protector. This does not absolve us of our responsibilities, but it should free us from captivity to fear. And I think fear is a big deal right now…maybe even a bigger deal than Coronavirus.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1.7, NLT).