Day 3- Do what you know.

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I’ve gotten into a real nice rhythym of waking up before the rest of the house. For a while it was auxiliary, I would be awake and have drank my coffee before getting them ready for school. I’d get my social media out of the way so that when they went off to school I had time to write. And then we started homeschooling and all that went out the window. Suddenly, the 5:30-7:00am chunk of day, sipping coffee at my kitchen table became my life blood. The only time all day I was alone with my thoughts. And so, naturally, like anyone born in my day and age, I squandered it away reading up on social media. I mean, why!

And back in early February some article mentioned this little virus in China that was acting erratic. And so, naturally, I woke up every morning and started reading up on what that crazy little virus was up too. And day by day it was as though I was watching a tidal waves grow in the distance as me and my fellow humans watched from a beachside villa. “It’s getting bigger,” I’d muse. “Oh Betsy, can’t you just enjoy the view?”

And then it became a thing, first to the liberal fringe, then to the democrats and within a couple days of exponential spread, to the republicans, and finally Trump, who was so serious in his last press conference that I wept. (Though the college students at CU still can’t seem to understand that social distancing does not including a keg filled with green beer…. I was one of them so I won’t throw tooooo many stones, but ugh, can we just all repeat, “youth is wasted on the young.”)

So now, we are all on the beach, watching the tidal wave. And frankly, I preferred the panic when I was alone.

It was easier to just wonder why no one was listening, and to mope in my own self-pity that I never had to gumption to trust my gut. But now. But NOW, people are slowing catching on and I am caught between a real snarky, “I TOLD YOU THIS LAST WEEK!!” and a much more humble and sad, “I know…. what do we do?”

Shortly after Beaudin was diagnosed, his school set aside one of their standard Wednesday morning chapels to pray over Beau and another teacher, both of whom had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Beaudin was in the hospital still, and would have stopped breathing if he had known the whole room was stood still praying for him. All the attention! And I felt more or less the same way, but decided it’d be best to attend. To give a face to a horrific circumstance.

The teacher who led to prayer started with a phrase that I’ve more or less been clinging to like life blood since the moment it fell from her lips:

When we don’t know what to do, we must do what we know.

As it turns out, pandemic response is much like cancer diagnosis response for me. My feelings oscillate between, “Ok….(exhale)…..we can handle this, grace be to God,….(inhale)….” to “Shit, shit, shit, this is the end and WE WILL NEVER RECOVER!!!!?!?$<#!$!!?@$>!!! AND NOOOO ONEEEEEE LISTENED TO MEEEEEEEEEEEE!” The oscillation is quick, back and forth, back and forth, on average 3,495 times per hour.

A rollercoaster. A horrific crisis rollercoaster.

Yesterday, I was spinning out. I read two articles. One about Amazon halting shipping through early April to accommodate the shipping of medical and household necessities and then another on a London-based research group that Trump himself had referenced in his recent press conference that is saying, more or less, this social distancing thing would be around on and off for 12-18 months until a vaccine was found, or millions would die.

Amazon stopping and 12 month quarantine. Is this the time where I casually joke, “Take me now, Jesus!” and then wait to see if anyone laughs. No ones laughing. They have already opened new browsers to try and find the articles I am talking about….Don’t do it people. Just no.

I sent the articles to Josh and said, “I need you to read both of these in their entirety and then come peel me off the floor.”

I was spinning fast, not sure if I should run to Target and buy $500 worth of toys that I could store and then dispense weekly to keep at least some small glimmer of hope alive, or if I should buy 40 aluminimum casserole tins and bake up that many lasagnas so that we wouldn’t starve to death. I couldn’t decide if I should count up all the cans of coconut milk in the pantry and divide it by the amount of frozen fruit and figure out the exact number of smoothies we could allocate if I made sure to ratio each serving to body weight, or if I should strip all the beds and wash the sheets so that AT THE VERY LEAST THE BEDS WERE CLEAN. I wasn’t sure if I should go to the local flower store and buy a bunch of seeds and plan out the spring planting because obviously we were going to be housebound until eternity and seedling shopping wouldn’t fall into the “necessity” allowances and I needed to be sure a little green sprout was going to push through the cold, hard soil and scream promises of new life or if I should just wallow in regret that last week I gave Goodwill 48 boxes of extra “stuff” that I really, really, really, really needed back.

Instead, I stood shaking in my kitchen. And then I remembered, as I always do when I am spinning:

When we don’t know what to do, we must do what we know.

So I made the kids lunch. I sat down my second coffee and picked up a full glass of water. I took my vitamins. I let the kids watch another show, and then another, and then…. they may still be watching shows….I don’t know. I went upstairs and put on make-up, and got dressed, yes, at 1pm. I texted a friend a funny meme about being Chicken Little and then put the soundtrack to The Lego 2 movie on the house speakers and sang the shit out of, “Everything’s Not Awesome.”

When we don’t know what to do, we must do what we know.

I texted my partner in worry- crime and told her I thought we should promise each other not to read scary articles before bedtime, but reserve them for the hours between 10 and 2pm when there is plenty of daylight and offspring annoyance left in the day to ground us to what is actual, rather than what is possible.

I made the commitment to myself that I was going to figure out how to limit the news intake of this train wreck, though I am still not entirely sure what it will look like.

When Beaudin was diagnosed I immedeatly made the commitment that for a full 30 days I would not google a single thing about Leukemia. I decided that I would only get info and insight from IRL (in real life) people. And turns out, it worked. I had a solid foundation about Leukemia before I had read through all the hype, hysteria, conspiracies, about its cures, causes, and treatment.

The whole world wasn’t screaming about leukemia, so it’s a bit different, but is it? I surely can’t commit to a full 30-days without media intake. I just can’t. Or… hmmmm…. I can. I am not going to. But I can commit to this:

Every morning, when I wake-up, I am going to read the Day Break liturgy from Every Moment Holy (https://www.everymomentholy.com). And then I am going to sit down and drink my coffee and write on my blog. I am going to take in exactly zero new media before the sun has risen and I’ve seen that, yet again, the world carries on, reminding me His promises are true.

I’ve also decided I am narrowing down my sources. NPR will always be a go, and I think the podcasts, The Daily and Up First, will be on my list. But I am really going to try to not go back to the world wide web, and especially not the google search bar. If it hasn’t made it to Scott Simon, I don’t need to know.

Oh, I also decided, no second cup of coffee. Which feels random and totally irrelevant to that whole global pandemic, but I just can’t be spinning out with nerves, and have the adrenaline of too much coffee adding to the shake.

And I’m getting dressed to leave the house. And then not leaving. Every day.

When we don’t know what to do, we must do what we know.

What do you know? What do you need to return to in order to slow the spin? I’d love to hear from you.

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