One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter

As I write this, on Thursday, April 2, Georgia had its first diagnosed case of COVID-19 one month ago. I started journaling about two weeks ago. I am already curious to see how today will seem to look back through the lens of yesterday. But for today, freshly under a statewide order to shelter in place which begins tomorrow, school kids learn that their school year is over, before ever even having Spring Break.

Helter Skelter was a book and movie telling the tale of the cult of Charles Manson and his heathen followers. Helter Shelter will be perhaps a longer tale written one day about one strange winter/spring which very slowly became summer, and the year we almost never left home. Hey kids, you got your wish, in a 180-day school year, in effect nearly 90 snow days. But oh yeah, without snow.

It is interesting discussing, with friends, peers, colleagues, and family, what are the hardest aspects of these challenging times to adjust to, while maintaining sanity and a smile. I think for me currently, the most challenging part is keeping a distance (I don't mean six feet) from the folks who matter most. My youngest child is with her mother and step-father. Olivia has asthma, which puts her more at risk, and we have several slightly compromised immune systems in our family...and my work has required me to not entirely shelter in place. I am grateful for the many modern marvels of communication technology that are allowing us to stay in touch. My older daughter is a school teacher, not even allowed the option of a fond year-end farewell to her kiddos. Thankfully, again technology and the recently mega-adopted platform of Zoom are allowing and facilitating some student/pupil interaction.

Running a firm which in part specializes in crisis communications and management, this has actually been a very good time for our small enterprise, and if everyone pays their bills, it will be our best month of 2020... But I feel for so many that are experiencing the exact opposite, loss of business, loss of a job, or crippling blows to their household income. Thankfully Washington and local governments do appear to be moving more quickly and responsively than usual, and though I don't expect them to 'save us,' real help does appear to be on the way.

Remember that many of your banks/lenders ARE also making help available, but the onus is on YOU the borrower to reach out, make the contact and make them aware of your situation. Everything from car and mortgage loan to college loan payments is being suspended for a period of time, typically tacked on to the back end of your loan, with no additional penalty charges or interest.

Togetherness is generally an asset in limited supply for most families, and a lot of working couples...but sudden and extended co-habitation with limited options, sometimes with multiple generations under one roof can also be vexing. I recommend taking some time outside or in your yard to blow off steam.

Our expanded Victory Garden, much larger than prior years, with a more diverse selection of fruits and vegetables, is already in the ground, with more seeds and seedlings in our little backyard greenhouse. Exercising is not only allowed but encouraged, keeping social distancing spacing in mind, and I am expecting perhaps a record level Baby Boom, not unlike the post-WWII surge which gave us the Baby Boomers within whom I am lumped. Some types of recreating never go out of style.

And I know it seems we all live online these days, my children and Millenial friends almost all preferring text, but daily or several times weekly OLD SCHOOL phone calls can also be very calming and reassuring for those who matter most in your world, as well as a great way to reconnect with old friends and colleagues with whom you have not spoken for years.

And though for me the prohibition on group worship makes sense, never under-estimate the power and value of group prayer, and sending warm and healing thoughts in bulk to those in harm's way, or perhaps already dealing with a case of COVID19. For some, as weeks roll into months, this 'home-based' lockdown will become hell. But remember, as you are generally surrounded by your creature comforts, with utilities working and the ability to connect and re-connect with friends and family, things could really be a helluva lot worse. Blessings to you all. See you on the other side of this.

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