It seems each day of the past week has been its own month. The passing of information has sped up in this day and age, but with regards to COVID-19, we’re packing a month’s worth of news into just a few minutes.

Cancellations, postponements, interruptions—these are truly unprecedented times.

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This situation should not be taken as anything less than dire. As more and more stories emerge, it’s become clear that the concern here is not for the healthy, average, middle-aged among us. The concern is for the vulnerable.

But if we don’t take the necessary precautions that our leaders are asking of us—mainly social distancing—we present a risk to them by taking the virus right to them.

You’ve heard all this before and you’ve heard it a lot. But until we can get everyone on board, it’s going to be repeated and repeated.

I understand the frustration this causes. We don’t have a confirmed case or even a presumptive positive within 200 miles of southwest Nebraska as of Tuesday morning. But it’s a matter of when, not if, and while the inconvenience is real, this is what our leaders are asking us to do. They’ve got better information than you and I do.

About the best way I heard it said was, “If we do this right, it will all seem like a huge overreaction in the end.”

Well, that was the second-best way I heard it.

The best came from my grandma on Monday night.

All weekend, I worried about my grandparents. One grandpa is 96, has diabetes, and is in a nursing home. At least I have the assurance that he has people around him trying to protect him.

But then there are my grandparents that live at home. They’re in their early 80s and, like many, have their own health concerns. Despite my grandpa’s insistence that it’s all my grandma’s idea, they’re both social people, too.

Finally, Monday night I couldn’t take it anymore, and I called.

Grandma explained that all five of her children had called in a span of five hours on Friday, one after another removing any temptation to leave the place. They even convinced my grandparents that God would understand if they worshipped from home on Sunday.

I asked my grandma if she could ever remember anything like this and to my surprise, she said she could. When she was in high school, polio was scaring families all over the world and they avoided large gatherings then, too.

But then she said the words that we all need to hear right now:

“You know, it’s really just a reminder of how good we have it here. We are so comfortable and really spoiled with safety and healthcare and security. It just makes you realize some people have to live with this fear every day—disease, being poor, famine.”

Well, um, ya . . . what she said.

It gets better.

She explained that we have to remember who’s in control and that God has a plan, one we might not understand, but one that will work out for our good.

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Given a night to sleep on these words, it seems there might be a lesson here.

We get so full of ourselves and worry about how everything is going to affect us.

Perhaps all of this is a reminder that we’re not living alone here and we need to think about someone else, too.

What’s being asked of us, in the meantime, is not that bad. And while there will be problems that continue for some time, we can handle those later. They might be easier to handle if we learn how to care for each other again.

It’s going to be another strange week, but enjoy time with your loved ones and stay safe.

This post originally appeared in The Valley Voice and Frontier County Enterprise.

Cody Gerlach

My name is Cody Gerlach and I own and operate Camas Publishing, LLC based in Cambridge, NE. Our publishing company runs two weekly newspapers, The Valley Voice (regional paper) and Frontier County Enterprise (county paper). My wife, Ashley, and I have five redheaded children (Micah, Asher, Silas, Hadley, and Harlyn).