Divisive politics, rioting, looting, killing, disease, and government imposed economic shutdowns have crippled us. Lies fueled by hatred has been the driving force of it all. Not since the civil war has our country been as divided as we are now. Trust in our government leaders, the news media, and other institutions we once believed in is at an all time low.
As the viral pandemic stretches into the following year, whom can we turn to for answers? Certainly not politicians. They know from nothing, as my mother might have put it. Even our most highly regarded scientists and medical experts can't agree on how to handle this, they too have fallen into warring political camps.
Will 2021 be any better? Who knows? Part of the tension and dread we feel is exacerbated by uncertainty of what is to come. This too shall pass away, as the saying goes. But will it?
And if it does, just when will that be? How long will it be before we can dine out normally in a restaurant? Before we can worship together again? Before our children can go back to school and play with other kids? Before we can attend a wedding or a funeral without "social distancing?"
How long will it be before we can attend a concert or sporting event? Before we can have parties in our homes again? How long before we can celebrate a holiday with our extended families? How long will it be before we can put our arms around each other in times of sorrow or to comfort those we love who might just need a hug?
How to fight this thing? "Keep your face mask on," we are told. Do we need more people wearing facemasks in more places? Many states and cities are demanding that facemasks be worn whenever a person leaves his house, for any reason.
If that doesn't do the trick, will we be told to wear masks while INSIDE of our homes as well? Should we wear them even while sleeping?
I hear rumblings of a national total lockdown if things don't improve, with government-enforced curfews put into effect.
Some jurisdictions are already encouraging neighbors to rat on their fellow neighbors if they see them violating government regulations. People will be fined and may even be jailed if they do not comply with proper safety precautions as mandated by the state.
They say things will get better once a vaccine is available and everyone gets inoculated. But what if a miracle vaccine doesn't happen, or doesn't happen for many years? How long do we keep our lives hidden away inside our homes? How long do we keep stores closed, keep people apart, and keep our economies in the red? How long before we start to die in large numbers, not from the virus, but from the dire effects of being locked down, shut off from the world? How do human beings exist within a society that has virtually stopped functioning?
We all need some peace of mind. I'm no doctor but I know wallowing in fearful apprehension of doom is not only unhealthy, it's deadly. As we begin the last month of this terrible year, we should sit back, relax and do what we can to put our minds at ease.
Not an easy task, I grant you. But it has to be done if we are to retain our sanity and composure.
How to accomplish this? First, stop listening to the news. Stop listening to friends and family who are freaking out. Prayer and faith in theAlmighty is another avenue to peace of mind.
And escapism. Read a favorite book. Listen to music that you love. Watch an old feel good movie, one with Laurel and Hardy, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or whoever gives you pleasure. Put on uplifting pictures like It's a Wonderful Life, Singing in the Rain, Sullivan's Travels or a Disney animated classic. Laugh, dance, sing, and escape from reality for a while. Total escapism will do wonders for your head.
But don't worry, reality will still be lurking out there when and if you want it back.