We live in crazy times, my friends.

In the past week, the world as we know it has gone through drastic changes to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Frequent hand washing, social distancing, working from home, and self-quarantine measures are creating distraction, distress, and disruption for many. Empty grocery shelves and the strangely inexplicable run on toilet paper add to the sense of unreality as people find ways to navigate through these uncertain times, trying to protect themselves and others from the spread of this virus.

Are all of these precautions necessary? It appears so, based on what has happened with this virus in other countries and the rate at which it’s spreading in our own country. We’re fortunate that we have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others and be more proactive in dealing with this situation. Perhaps our precautions will help minimize the impact of this virus on those who don’t have the physical resources to fight it off.

These are scary times. But are panic and fear necessary responses? No, at least not in my opinion. Natural responses, yes. But not necessary.

The media is doing a good job of keeping the public up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation, both in our city and throughout the country. But the spread of bad news is sometimes as quick and pervasive as the spread of a virus. It reaches into homes, cars, workplaces, purses, and pockets as it’s disseminated through our TVs, radios, laptops, and cell phones. We all have instant access to the latest updates – whether we want them or not. While it’s good to stay informed during serious situations such as this, constant news updates can also be overwhelming, causing us to lose sight of other things in our lives that deserve our attention – and our gratitude.

Things like family and friendship. Love. Faith. Community. All of this is still here, even when you can’t see each other face to face. You can feel it.

Blessings like a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food on our tables. Cars that get us from one place to the next if we have to go out. Dogs and cats that keep us company in our self-quarantined state. Many people are fortunate to have jobs still – even though those jobs are being done from home now.

Fresh air, rain, sunshine. Trees. Birds chirping. Grass turning green. Flowers starting to come alive. 

Just as the eye of a tropical storm is almost completely calm, we, too, can remain calm in the face of adversity and trying times. As the world swirls and churns around us, let’s hold the peace, the tranquility, the light within us. Let’s focus on what we have, not on what we’re afraid of. Let’s love each other and help each other through this. We can do it.

Take a deep breath. Count your blessings. Be the eye of the storm.