The Local Voice

The View From The Balcony: “Choices in a Time of Fear and Uncertainty”


I am blessed. I know it in my head; I know it in my heart. 

I don’t have the Coronavirus, as far as I can tell. 

The recent severe weather didn’t impact me directly. 

I have a roof over my head, rented, though it be.

I have resources to get me through for a few more months.

I am not going to be hungry unless I choose to be.

There are no bombs being dropped near me, nor terrorists at my door.

I can go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and gas stations.

I have family and friends that love me and with whom I can connect virtually.

I can hear. I can see. I can speak. I can taste. I can smell. I can feel.

I am ambulatory.

I have health insurance and a great doctor to boot.

I know better than to ingest disinfectants.

We are being reminded that much of the control we think we have in our lives is an illusion. No matter how detailed our plans, all it takes is one little monkey wrench and, voila!―we’re not doing what we thought we were doing, not going where we thought we were going, and not on the schedule we thought we were on. We can make all the plans we wish, but the Universe can come along at any time and simply say, “Nope. Not today, Buster.” Still, we do have control over how we respond to circumstances, including whether we ingest disinfectants or not.

Plenty of people are frustrated and angry. They are living out of the very real fear of losing loved ones, jobs, businesses, homes, the ability to provide for self and family, and their very own death. These desperate times do call for desperate measures. But acting out of fear usually leads to bad decisions―like ingesting disinfectants.

If someone’s attacking you with a knife, a knee-jerk reaction is appropriate. If we learn that an army is coming in two weeks to attack us, we’ve plenty of reason to be scared, but we’ve also got some time to plan. We can choose to act, not out of fear, but in the very presence of fear. We can say, “I’m scared as hell, but I’m still going to use my head and I’m sure as hell not gonna ingest disinfectants.” 

As I write this, many states, Mississippi included, are activating plans for reopening. Everyone from governors to mayors to business owners, has harrowing decisions to make. I don’t envy a single one of them. And I’m prone toward not judging their decisions harshly, unless they are blatantly idiotic and lead to things like ingesting disinfectants. 

via Tenor

(As my good friend, The Sheik, has said, “Hindsight is 50/50.” Hindsight is revisionist in that it’s based on knowledge and information most often unavailable at the time of the actual event/decision―unlike the hazards of ingesting disinfectants.)

Lately we’ve seen most Americans at their best, reaching out to help and serve. My anecdotal observation is that most decision makers have the best interest of the public at heart, ergo a virtual Oxford Film Festival and no Double-Decker Arts & Music Festival.

Last weekend the Oxford Walmart wouldn’t let you in without a mask. You could still choose not to wear a mask, but the consequence was that you couldn’t enter the store. Some restaurants have reopened, most with extreme care to enforcing social distancing and providing as much safety as possible. Some folks will go out to eat immediately; some will remain at home. We have that choice, just as we have the choice to ingest disinfectants or not.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11 the Apostle Paul wrote that when he was a child he behaved like a child, but that when he grew up, he started behaving like an adult. Once as a child, I drank Lysol. I learned that having your stomach pumped out is about as much fun as slamming a car door shut on your fingers. I no longer ingest disinfectants. As an adult I prefer vodka. Go figure.

…and that’s the view from The Balcony. 

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