We are living in an unprecedented moment in time, filled with so many twists and turns happening not just on a daily basis but hourly! I constantly feel dizzy. My emailbox and text streams rarely slow down. Our course – as a world, and as individuals – is truly uncharted. Only the history books of our future know where the Covid-19 Pandemic is going, and how it will all unfold for each of us.
It’s hard to believe that New Year 2020 happened only ten weeks ago. I was preparing for our Caribbean Cruise, and excitedly planning many upcoming fun races, events, concerts, and travel adventures! The future was bright and full of possibility! Never could we have imagined what lay ahead.
Two weeks later (8 weeks ago), Jeff, Daughter Bee, my parents, and I flew to Miami and sailed on the beautiful ship MSC Maraviglia for a fabulous week of sun, sand, adventure and discovery! We visited Costa Maya Mexico, Caye Caulker Belize, Roatan Honduras, and a private Bahama Island.
We swam in warm, crystal clear water with nurse sharks and stingrays, snorkled around a shipwreck, ate delicious meals and were dazzled by some of the best entertainment we’ve ever seen. It was a beautiful dream vacation.
We never imagined just days later happy travellers just like us, would have a very unhappy ending to their cruise experience on the other side of the world. It shook us up. We could image exactly what they were going through, and realized that so easily, but for the Grace of God, it could have been us. Our hearts ached for them trapped on their boat, and getting ill!
During our cruise I remember hearing a brief mention about a virus in a “small town” in China. Certainly, it was a sad thing, but it was so far removed, it definitely was nothing to worry about. Or so I thought.
Not long after our cruise, Mom and Dad accepted a 3rd mission call, this time to the SLC Temple Square mission!! They could hardly wait for their start date of Monday March 16!
Now, here we are. It’s March 16. But, it feels like its already been 10 years instead of 10 weeks since 2020 began! Nothing is what we ever could have imagined.
Our world is turning upside down as we find we are in an epic war with an unseen but very dangerous enemy… a Pandemic! It is the stuff of sci-fi novels and apocalypse movies … turned reality!
One week ago Utah got its first confirmed Covid-19 case (not counting a local couple that contracted it on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and has recovered). As of this writing we have 28 confirmed cases. Tomorrow there will be more. The numbers will begin to rise as testing increases. We are in the early stages of this thing, compared to other countries in crises (like China, Iran, Italy) and other states already getting overwhelmed like Washington and New York. They are just a bit ahead of us – so the trajectory isn’t good. We’ve had a gamut of reactions already statewide. Shock. Denial. Panic Shopping. Toilet paper and bottled water hoarding (why?!?). We still struggle with all the unknowns. There are more questions than answers. How serious is this going to get? How scared should we really be? Are we over-reacting or under-prepared? How long will this last? How long does the illness take to incubate? Can we transmit the virus without having symptoms? Are my kids safe? Are my parents? How will this impact me directly, my routines, my job, my community, my family??
Last week, the virus still seemed rather intangible. We were prepping as a state. And, at the hospital I work in, theres been massive mobilizing and planning efforts hour by hour. But, I still had the same schedule and routines. Gym. Work. Meetings. Making meals, and eating out. Playing with darling Grandpeep. Choir rehearsals. Learning music for our upcoming broadcasts, General Conference and two Messiah concerts! Nothing had really changed yet.
Until it did change.
On Thursday March 12 Governor Herbert declared a state of emergency and limited all gatherings to 100 people or less, (and for older adults 20 people or less) effective Monday March 16.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a long list of changes over the week (being updated regularly). Including closing of Temple Square and delaying missions, so Mom and Dad will not be starting their mission today after all, (and they are very sad).
All Sabbath meetings world wide are cancelled until further notice. This is an historic thing. It’s never happened on this scale. Also, all of Temple Square is closed, including The Tabernacle. Previously taped Choir broadcasts are being shown on Sunday mornings, instead of our live performance.
Our Messiah concerts are cancelled. General Conference is still being planned, but as of a few hours ago CDC is recommending no meetings of more than 50 people together in one space for the next 8 weeks … so many more changes and adjustments coming!
Yesterday was the first “no church Sunday”. We were encouraged to practice “home centered worship”. In our house, we watched some of the new Book of Mormon videos depicting the stories in chronological order of the book (I highly recommend watching them!)
Later, we finished watching Disney’s Frozen II on the Disney Channel, which surprisingly had many spiritual messages and applicable metaphors for the current reality we are now suddenly living in.
Elsa dares to go “into the Unknown” and she and her sister Anna learn that when we are lost and all seems hopeless, we can simply “do the next right thing”, taking one step at a time through the darkness, not knowing where we are going but trusting we will find the light.
I’m not gonna lie, I have my share of panic and anxiety right now! I have much to figure out with my job, and concern for my parents, and Jeff’s Dad who is high risk. But, I have no doubt this Pandemic WILL pass, if not soon, eventually. We can all do hard things, especially if we do them together, as a team, with kindness. God bless us all with the courage and strength we need to keep walking forward into this new unknown. Every day, a new challenge, just doing the next right thing, and filling up our children’s history books with our own story of bravery, sacrifice and resilience.
Be safe & well my friends, Holly