Dan Rather arguably one of the most trusted men in America said there has been nothing like this in his time, in no one alive today’s time unless you are 110 years old. The only thing comparable to this world wide pandemic of 2020 was the flu epidemic of 1918. I remember my dad talking about draft dodgers during the Viet Nam War, with disgust. He considered them the lowest of the low. I was in my teens when he said it, but it wouldn’t have mattered how old I was because I knew deep down I could not have been sent to war. I just couldn’t have done it. I was born in the right time and the right gender to never be asked to put my life on the line for our country. If I had been I would have dodged war in anyway possible. Even going to Canada to “dodge” something impossible takes courage.
My dad had courage. He was a WW2 bomber in the Pacific theatre, even as I type this I don’t really understand what that means. I’ve read the letters that he sent home to his parents. They start with the kind of bravado I saw in my father. He signed them with “your Best son” in the beginning even though he had two other brothers and one of the them was also serving. He was a kidder and I saw that in his earlier letters, but eventually that kind of bravado changed to just, your son. I know he had to have seen and done impossibly courageous things. He would be considered by many in his squadron and those who knew him in the war to be a hero. My dad was a naturally courageous man, or seemed to be. He was born for His time.
I was made for the kind of courage that is being asked of us today. I wasn’t made to be on the front lines. I could stay hidden in a game of hide and seek until the coast was completely clear to make my run for the safety of home. I could run faster than anyone alone in the dark to get home and away from the “bogey man.” I could leap onto my bed so I wouldn’t be grabbed by the monster beneath my bed. I had the kind of courage in school to challenge a popular idea or to propose an unpopular idea. I had the courage to be sent to the office for wearing something against the dress code. I had the kind of courage it took to defend the kid being bullied, but not to be sent to war—never something that took that kind of courage. In 2020 all that is being asked of me is to stay home. I don’t even have to run. I just need to be and that’s it. This is my kind of bravery. Courage in this day is the nurse, the doctor, the grocery clerk, the delivery person, the warehouse stocker, the restauranteurs, the emergency workers, the police, the firefighters, the school teachers and on an on. It’s Dr. Fauci, and Sanjay Gupta, local media folks, and scientists and medical workers or all kinds. It's the exhausted tireless soldiers of today. The list goes on and on and for some reason it even includes me, the person staying hidden until the coast is clear—completely clear.
I came upon this in my reading, just minding my “civic duty” this morning. “This one truth, the few people you adore will die, is plenty difficult to absorb. But on top of it, someone’s brakes fail, or someone pulls the trigger or snatches the kid, or someone deeply trusted succumbs to temptation and everything falls apart. We are hurt beyond any reasonable chance of healing. We are haunted by our failures and mortality. And yet the world keeps on spinning, and in our grief, rage and fear a few people keep on loving us and showing up. It’s all motion and stasis, change and stagnation. Awful stuff happens and beautiful stuff happens, and it’s all part of the big picture.” Anne Lammott
In the Big Picture this moment in time will pass. Most of us, but not all, will still be here while the world keeps on spinning. We will recover. We will still hold new babies and climb trees, visit new places, and hold the hand of a loved one, and hear our six-year-old grandson declare “I wish there was no such thing as CORONOVIRUS.” I do too, grandson. I do too. This may be the most difficult time for many of us, but my prayer is for the ones who have to face it head-on. May we never take for granted again all of those “essential people” who must keep showing up to keep our world spinning. This is war, and those on the front lines are the most brave of all, but then there’s my grand children who don’t get to play with their friends, who have to stay home and do all of their school work online. I can almost hear my dad now, he would be disgusted now for those who are flaunting the rules and putting not only themselves but every one they come in contact at risk. They are the draft dodgers during this war of 2020. May we just get through this thing with grace, love, and hope, and of course good health. Soldier on friends and keep washing your hands.