Elisabeth Kubler Ross first identified the stages of grief in her book “On death and dying” published in 1969. The Coronavirus has caught everyone in the world by surprise. The recovery of our nation going forward will be uncharted territory, to look at past pandemics might give us a skeletal structure to work from but the world is a very different place in the year 2020. The one thing America is lacking in this fast moving age is patience, yet, that might be the very fix our country needs. It begs the question: Is America in denial?
Similar to the financial meltdown from 2008 many people are watching their retirements and investments erode with every passing day. The Coronavirus has exposed many frail places in our economy and the way we conduct business in the world. Yet, there is a growing impatience in people to wave a magic wand and have the world return to its previous state. This is not going to happen, at least not any time soon. The first stage of grief is denial and I believe this is where America finds itself at this moment. During a period of denial it is not uncommon to shift blame constantly, a quick look at our news agencies show this being modeled in real time. Assigning blame will not further us one step towards the needed solutions, there will be plenty of time for lessons learned as the pain decreases. The first step is to realize we are in denial.
The one fact that has emerged through this crisis is we are doing our best guessing at this point. I remember being in martial arts in the 1980’s, and sustaining a groin pull. The doctor told me I would be fine but it would require me to take an entire year off of practicing and competing. I was 26 when this occurred and one year was the same as twenty five years in my eyes; I was looking for a quick fix and none existed. I learned a great deal of patience and humility that year. People today are wanting to project out what it will be like in six months, when we should be thinking about six days. Our economy has slowed down, but we as a people have slowed downed also.
We must get past the denial that things will change, they have changed and sometimes there is no going back once they have, September 11, 2001 is a prime example. We are freaking out while metaphorically the doctor is still doing his examination. Take this one day at a time, by the way, it is the only way you can take our current situation. Start preparing for change, it will be coming soon. I do not know how this story ends, but if I am alive to see it play out I should be grateful, many will not have that luxury. So, slow down and let life come to you. Help each other and be a better neighbor and citizen to your community and country. My grandparents survived the Spanish Flu pandemic, the Great Depression and a host of other setbacks. I don’t think they accomplished it by living in denial. Peace and Grace to everyone.