“Hello, friends…. Are you tired, rundown, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is…”*
Language tip: In northwest Arkansas, tired rhymes with tarred, as do power and par and fire and far. So it’s tarred, par, and far. So there.
Well, are you tired, rundown, listless? Of course you are. We’re all tired, rundown and listless. PART OF THE PROBLEM is that it’s July. Back in March – lo these many months ago – a lot of us were hoping that by July the pandemic would have run its course. As we all know, it hasn’t. In fact, just about everywhere things are worse, and especially so in places that opened up too quickly and in places where leaders – intent on enhancing their party’s chances in the upcoming elections – dismissed the science and ignored the common good to politicize social distancing and the wearing of masks. As dear old Nina Timchenko would say, “Is big mess!”
No one was happy to go into quarantine back in March but we mostly did so with willing spirits and even a certain feeling of adventure. As a nation we were embarking on a grand project: Working together, we were going to flatten the curve. We told ourselves that we were all in this together and that we would get to the other side by working together and watching out for one another. And a few short weeks of quarantine would be, we were told, an opportunity to work on things we didn’t usually have the time to get to. Why, we could read – or write – good books and prepare really creative and nourishing meals and garden and fix up the house and finally get the garage organized and maybe even learn Spanish. The possibilities seemed endless.
UNLESS, of course, you’d been laid off (“furloughed”) altogether or weren’t able to shelter in place because you were suddenly after all this time deemed essential or were a health care worker or had a job serving all the people who were able to work from home or were the owner of a small business or maybe even the pastor of a church and the bills weren’t going to stop just because the money was no longer coming in. THEN you had to figure out how you were going to proceed AND how you were going to protect yourself and the people around you as best you could AND if you had kids you had to figure out what to do with them while they were not in school and you were working AND what you would do if and when the bottom fell out. About which, yikes.
Now here we are, months later, stuck in the middle of a very hot July and in what feels like a real pickle and I say that as a person who likes pickles. The subsidies, such as they were, have dried up. And the rest of the world seems to have decided with more than a little justification that we as a nation must be a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal®. And you couldn’t go to Europe even if you had the time and the money. And your landlord can once again contemplate an eviction. And those who work in health care are exhausted and dispirited and are quite frankly tired of being call heroes. And everybody just seems tapped out even a little sad and there’s no longer any sense of adventure about it and….
AND WHAT are we going to do? Here’s an idea: We could show people that Loyola Catholics are made of sterner stuff:
- We could continue with masks and social distancing
- We could continue with hand hygiene
- We could continue to care for one another
- We could continue to watch out for the most vulnerable among us
- We could continue to reach out to one another via telephone (You know your smartphone? It’s right there in your hand. Yes, that’s it: The thing you use for SnapTube or whatever? Well, here’s a shocker: You can also use it to call people! I know! Amazing, isn’t it? Have the nearest 70-year-old show you how.), email, cards, letters, Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Snap Crackle Pop, Google Duo, DiddlyBop, Skype, et cetera. (No, there’s not an app called et cetera. Or maybe there is. Who knows? For right now et cetera is etc., written out. It’s the Latin for “and the rest.” As in “with Gilligan, the Skipper too, a millionaire and his appendage wife, a movie star, and the rest, here on Gilligan’s Aisle Isle” before they changed “and the rest” to “the Professor and Mary Ann.” Which I’m glad they did. Just saying.)
- We could continue to look for ways to make things better
- We could continue to look for ways to be sources of hope
- We could continue to share what we have with those in need
- We could renew our conviction that we’re going to get through this
- We could renew our conviction that this is God’s world, grounded in love
Well, gosh. If we did the above, we’d be doing pretty much what we’ve been trying to do for lo these many months now. And that’s just fine. So, dear ones, trust in God. Pay attention. Use your heads. Be kind. Do the right thing. And know that you are BELOVED beyond measure.
*OK, Vitameatavegamin Girls and Boys, here’s the rest of Lucy’s commercial, from the ellipsis:
…in this little bottle: Vitameatavegamin. Vitameatavegamin contains vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals. Yes, with Vitameatavegamin, you can spoon your way to health. All you do is take a tablespoonful after every meal. It’s so tasty, too! Just like candy! So why don’t you join the thousands of happy, peppy people, and get a great big bottle of Vitameatavegamin tomorrow? That’s Vita-meata-vegamin!
I Love Lucy, 1st season, episode 30, originally aired May 5, 1952. But you knew that.