“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)
This quote serves to illustrate just how I feel about the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept our world and put our lives on a temporary hiatus. It all seems like something out of a dystopian novel. It doesn’t seem real, and I don’t know if any amount of time will make me get used to seeing people walking around in homemade masks, seeing instagram posts from friends having to cancel their weddings, and knowing that the majority of the world is currently confined to the square footage of their house. It seems like 2020 has already lasted so long; in reality, it’s been less than four months. “Our year” has quickly taken a turn no one could have ever seen coming.
So here we are. School seniors are having to grapple with all their “lasts” being cancelled, and no commencement to celebrate the last four years of achievements. Pregnant moms everywhere are afraid of having to go through one of the scariest and most important moments of their lives all alone, without a voice to soothe and a hand to squeeze. Fiancés and fiancées are having to make the tough calls and give up on having the day of their dreams. Elderly and immunocompromised individuals are sheltered at home, often alone, knowing that outside those walls a very real yet invisible danger lies, and even their family and friends pose risks to their health and wellbeing. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are scrambling to take care of all the sick and suffering, often sacrificing their own health in the process due to lack of proper equipment and necessary protective gear. Educators everywhere are having to adjust to a new teaching style, trying to keep their students engaged and learning, despite being miles and miles away. Scientists and researchers are dedicating countless hours to understanding this new virus and developing a cure that could save countless lives, watching time pass by, and knowing that with every second more lives are lost. Parents are trying to make ends meet, keep their kids entertained, safe, fed, and calm while they themselves are panicking. Everyone has been affected in one way or another.
Do we all wish this didn’t happen in our time? Of course. But there is nothing we can do to change it. It was not for us to choose. What is for us to choose is what we do with the time that has been given to us. So, I ask each and every one of us, what are you going to do?
Will we be remembered for the panicked over-buying of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer? Will we cower in fear, panic and forget that we are called to something much higher? Will we forget about our neighbors as we focus on nothing but ourselves?
Or are we going to try and make the most of the time we’ve been given? Will we do our best to serve and love others in these hard times? Will we be a light in the darkness, the hands and feet of Jesus? Will we remember those in need? Will we make the most of the extra time with family? Will we be remembered for braving the uncertain times with peace and not panic, with service, not selfishness?
Let’s all do our part. Let’s stay home. Let’s take this seriously. Let’s keep things in perspective. Let’s check in on our friends and loved ones, even if it’s from afar. Let’s not stop building community. Let’s get creative. Let’s not get stuck in self pity and complaining. Let’s remember that everyone is struggling. Let’s continue being compassionate. Let’s remember that while we may not be able to choose the times we are given, we can choose what we do with that time.
Mariana Paris writes from Virginia.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.