Our task in one of my writing groups was to write about someone or something in our lives that made us feel safe. And why. I wrote about a time when my life was in crisis, and the man who wrapped me in his arms and promised he would never let anything hurt me again. We traveled miles away from troubles, to a place far removed from our American life. We entered a disparate universe, gliding along the Nile, immersed in the desert tombs and temples of the Pharoes. We were thousands of miles and thousands of years from my reality, and I felt safe.
Unfortunately, we no longer live in a world where a vacation will remove us from the threat of the day. No one can wrap us in big arms and make us feel safe. No one can protect us from the threats we face at home – this virus calls the entire world its home. The only continent untouched by sickness and death is Antarctica. No man can whisk a woman away to safety. No mother can wipe away the tears of pain. No doctor can cure this disease.
Who do we turn to for help? There is no one to save and us. We can follow guidelines for endless handwashing and disinfecting of surfaces, but disinfectants kill germs, not viruses. These guidelines are good for ordinary disease prevention, but not against this new age of extraordinary viruses.
We can distance ourselves from others much of the time, and work from home. But we can’t be sequestered forever. How does one practice social distancing on the subway? Will air travel stop because people won’t be allowed in such close proximity? Will we EVER find a cure?
People in this country are spoiled by our freedoms to gather or roam at will. We are fed up with restrictions, regardless of the reasons. Many cling to disinformation because it’s more pleasant than reality. Fear and frustration have led to protests that serve no real purpose.
None of us remains completely untouched, however. Those who have led healthy lifestyles of eating right, exercising and taking vitamins can be struck down in a moment. We who have had all the recommended shots – measles, mumps, chicken pox, smallpox, polio, diphtheria and flu – are not protected. No one is immune. No one has a cure. Covid-19 is wider spread than any epidemic that has come before. Police lines won’t keep it out. Walls and borders won’t keep it out.
Throughout history pandemics have had devastating effects, but containment stemmed illness. That was before we lived in such a mobile world, before limits became so small, before we could touch and be touched by all other societies and civilizations, where viruses spread undetected from one country to the next. An ebb in occurrences may once again surge. Reports of sickness dwindle in one place and explode in another. The religious pray to their gods but no miracle cure has been found. World leaders are helpless. Health organizations try but are still stymied.
Will we ever feel safe again? Is this our Armageddon?
We can only hope we come out stronger and better on the other side
. Only time will tell.