In times like this, it is easy to see the negative in situations. At this point, most Americans are living in places with either statewide “shelter at home” orders or at least have orders implemented in parts of the state in which they live. At the end of 2019, the market was “too good” and it felt like a “correction” was inevitable, but never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined THIS would happen. As of March 31, 2020, 800,000 people have documented cases of coronavirus worldwide and tens of thousands have died. In the United States, makeshift hospitals are being constructed and governors are pleading for ventilators, gowns, masks and gloves to treat the masses. It truly feels like watching a terrifying fiction movie unfold.
A staggering number of small businesses owners are certain to see economic hardships, and many will be forced to close their doors permanently. Restaurants and bars have been shuttered or reduced to filling take-out orders at a fraction of their usual volume. Self employed practitioners like hair stylists, massage therapists, dentists and travel agents are all being hit particularly hard. When your entire livelihood is based on customers, and there aren’t any customers, well…you know what happens.
The government is in a conundrum. If government officials decide to lift social distancing restrictions prematurely we will see businesses begin to thrive again. But what if the virus isn’t adequately contained and the pandemic worsens? Businesses will start making money again, but at what cost? We all want to be optimistic, but if China and Italy have taught us anything, this virus could quickly become an unmanageable situation and hundreds of thousands or possibly millions could lose their lives. Truthfully, we are in a lose-lose situation. I don’t envy our state and nation’s leaders for the enormous weight and repercussions of those decisions.
It is interesting how different people have varying perspectives on the coronavirus. Some feel that it will blow over and the economy will roar back. One person recently told me, “We all just need to catch it to get this thing over.” Others fear for the worst; some even thinking this is the actual end of the world. Maybe we have seen too many zombie apocalypse movies over the years. Are the fears unwarranted? We don’t know.
Regardless, as we stated last week, this is unprecedented, and we are learning as we go. We don’t know how long this pandemic will last and we don’t know when America is going back to work. As each day unfolds, we learn a little more about this ever changing story.
So, what good can come of this?
We are already seeing some good things in the midst of disastrous times. Yes, as we are forced to stay in our homes and many of us are drastically changing our spending for the first time in years. The economy for the past several years has never been better in US history. While we all enjoyed our “toys” and our “extra things” we have become greedy as a nation. As recruiters, we have been seeing it for years. So called “needs” were nothing more than “luxury wants”.
We were not living like God would have liked for us to live. We forgot what is really important. If this pandemic has taught us anything, we have ALL come to the realization that we are NOT IN CONTROL. Without health, we have nothing. You know the saying, “you can’t take it with you when you die”. One thing coronavirus has taught us is we need to start spending more time paying attention to the little things and the people in our lives.
Going for a walk or bike ride has never been more enjoyable for our family. Spending time solely with your spouse and kids can be challenging at times but it is a beautiful opportunity when you think about it. It has definitely made me appreciate my friends and family more now than ever. Thanks to technology we have been connecting more and more by Zoom calls, FaceTime, Houseparty, text and phone. Sometimes we are connecting or reconnecting with friends or relatives we have been too busy to keep in touch with consistently.
For the first time in years, people aren’t honking and looking at their cell phones every two seconds because of a business deal we are trying to close. This, my friend, can be a gift if you think about it. We can stop and breathe and be thankful for another day of life here on earth.
We have been part of an exhausting sprint of “keep up with the Jonses” lately and not really thinking about what is in front of us and what we DO have. The needs of others become obvious and as a community, we can come together to make sure those needs are met.
This does not make it any easier for people who have rent to pay. It doesn’t make it easier for people who have employees dependent on them for their salaries. It does not make it any easier for people who are losing money by the hour because of this pandemic. We know you are scared and overwhelmed and truthfully, we are scared too.
God tells us to not be afraid. Not to be anxious. We know that is easier said than done. Matthew 35 says: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
So, during this time, as we all are undoubtedly going to suffer to some extent, we are all in this together. Let’s take a minute to reach out to those who are struggling. I bet you don’t have to look very far into your list of contacts to find someone who is being hit especially hard right now. Offer to help where you can. Maybe pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor or words of love and encouragement for someone who is having a tough time.
God WILL provide. We WILL get through this. Things might change dramatically for some of us. Some people will have to downsize their lives which is painfully hard. Some people will take massive salary cuts but be grateful to have money coming in. Tomorrow might not look like we want it to, but there will be another day. Try to find the blessing each day. Think about the silver lining.
Written by Will & Laura Thomson