Tuesday, April 28, 2020

One Person's After Is Another Person's During


Life is full of befores and afters.

There is life as a child, before one is an adult, and life as an adult, after one is no longer a child.  There is life before one is married and a life after one is married. There is a life before becoming a mother (when one thinks they know just how to raise a child) and then there is life after becoming a mother (when one realizes how very little one knows on how to raise a child).

We all experience similar befores and afters and also different befores and afters.

One similar experience we shared happened on September 11th, 2001.  There was our life before the attacks on 9/11 and then there was our life after 9/11.  Sometimes it is difficult to remember the before.  The safety of the American people on American soil was something I know I didn't even think about.  There had never been a terror attack on our country such as what happened on that day.  People went about their daily lives until they didn't. The after I remember very well.  At the time we lived in Norther New Jersey.  My husband worked at the World Trade Center but was not in NYC that day but in Boston for a business conference.  We had gone as a family.  Driving home later that day was something I will not forget.  The cell phones did not work.  Listening to the radio in the car.  Driving around (instead of through) NYC to get home.  Seeing the smoke where the towers once stood.  Seeing Black Hawk helicopters for days patrolling the skies.  Seeing our military on the streets of NYC.  The cries and the silence of those who lost loved ones that day.  And then there was the later on after.  The uneasiness and hesitation to fly on an airplane.  The raised awareness of our surroundings in case there were other terrorist cell groups.  I also remember the after of camaraderie.  I remember the patriotism.  We were all in this together.

And now, our before this deadly pandemic...  life was not perfect as it rarely is but there was a plan and a future that looked promising.  Children played together and went to school until they didn't.  Families went to restaurants and parks and ballgames until they didn't.  People went grocery shopping for anything they wanted or at least what they could afford until they didn't.  Everyone who wished to go to church went to church until they didn't.  Grownups went to work at their jobs until they didn't. Many elderly people enjoyed lived in nice assisted living homes until they didn't.  Yes, these are generalities but I believe you can understand the sentiment.

The during...

I do not know if we are in the during or in the after.  I don't know if anyone knows.

In the during, we stayed home.  Unless we were essential workers, we stayed home.  Unless we needed to go to the grocery store or pick up food at the restaurant or other places that were "approved".  And I believe most of us did this.   We needed to do this to flatten the curve.  We needed to make sure that the hospitals weren't overwhelmed.  And now, so we are told, the curve has flattened.  Yes, there are still deaths.  But there are less people being admitted into the hospital.  Mission accomplished.

The after...

And this is where it gets sticky.  One person's after is another person's during.

The nation is divided into two groups.  One side wants to make the choice to return to work and to what life was like.  The other side wants others to make the choice for everyone.  They want to wait and they want others to wait.  Until when, I wonder.

Until everyone can be tested?  I don't think that is possible even if the tests were reliable.

Until there is a vaccine?  If there is a vaccine that works on the virus if its mutations haven't evolved as it will most certainly do...

Is it too much to ask or rather insist that people remain in their homes for the unforeseeable future?

The state of Virginia's State Health Commissioner, Norman Oliver, recently said that it could take 2 years.  Two years.  Think about it.  I exchanged emails with a good friend who lives in Virginia.  She says that it won't be long before there is rebellion in the streets.  People want to work.  People want to feed their families.

The during/after is very different for everyone.  Some people can remain home and not experience financial difficulty.  Others can not. Some people can work from home.  Others can not. Some people have plenty to eat.  Others do not.  Some people can shop for groceries or have them delivered.  Others wait for hours upon hours in food pantry lines hoping to get enough food for their families to last a week or two.

One person's after is another person's during.  The difference is a choice.  Or it should be.

The United States of America - the land of the free and the home of the brave.  It was.  And I fear it will not be again.

There is no freedom to choose to work - to pursue happiness.  There is no freedom to assemble.  There is no freedom of religion (to practice one's faith as one chooses to).  Other freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are slowly being chipped away.

I suppose the question we need to ask ourselves is what will remain when our afters are the same.  Will we remain divided or will we stand together?  Will we even notice?

10 comments:

  1. It does seem that this crisis is dividing our country. And the tricky part is that what one person does affects others as well. We have never been as aware of all being connected. Your writing is beautiful.

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    1. You are too kind, Ginny. Thank you!

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  2. I mentioned a few days ago the comparison of today with 9/11. We thought there would never be a normal again, but there was. Now we can't imagine life being normal again, but it will. A different normal, for sure, but normal. I think as businesses begin to open and people begin to go back to work, those of us who are compromised need to continue to be careful until those vaccines are in place and this virus is more under control. We are still in control of our lives and can continue to stay at home, wear a mask when going out and using common sense. It is time to begin finding that new normal, though.

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    1. Seeing each day as a gift is the key, I think, Terri!

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  3. What a thought provoking post to read this morning! I do hope we can come together for the good of our country, our states, and our communities. I hope we take the lessons learned during this pandemic and apply them as we need to. Each of our actions does impact someone else's. Thinking of you today, Gina!

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    1. Amen, Robin! And thank you so much for the sweet card! I hope to have one on its way to you soon!

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  4. I hope the lower USA can be an encouragement right now. We are slowly getting back out and it feels so good. Even if it takes a while to get back to normal just doing little things like going to the grocery store, picking up an RX, getting take out from a local restaurant I will take it. I am a social animal with introvert tendencies. My introvert side has been filled up and I am ready for some social interaction with people even if it means wearing a mask. I know I am blessed that I have the ablilty to get back out. I certainly realize that many cannot do so safely due to health concerns. But today I choose HOPE.

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    1. Choosing hope each day is definitely a good thing!

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  5. I do think some things will be different after all this, I do hope that we can come together but I have a feeling there is still going to be division between people. So many people have strong feelings on both sides.

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    1. Connie, I'm hoping things will settle down as time progresses. It doesn't help that this is an election year!

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Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better.

But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Maria Craik, A Life for a Life, "Chapter XVI: Her Story," 1859