Sunday, January 31, 2021

Is Our Psyche Being Damaged By This Pandemic?



1a chronic infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium (Mycobacterium leprae) affecting especially the skin and peripheral nerves and characterized by the formation of nodules or macules that enlarge and spread accompanied by loss of sensation with eventual paralysis, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities

 called also Hansen's disease


“Unclean! Unclean!”

We all know about lepers in the Bible. They had to live outside the regular community, call out “Unclean!” to passers-by, wear torn clothes and cover the lower part of their faces (Lv 14:35). Contact with a leper made one unclean and unable to attend any religious service.

The quotation above was the opening line excerpted from Famous Lepers of the Bible by Patricia Kasten written in The Compass, October 7, 2016. I used Ms. Kasten's opening to illustrate how someone who was diagnosed with leprosy had to live during that time. 

I liken what was happening then to what is happening now to some degree. I raise the question, is our psyche be damaged by this Covid-19/coronavirus pandemic? I raise that question because since we learned of the deadly virus nearly a year ago in the late winter of 2020 we have either contracted the virus or have been doing everything in our power not to contract the virus. We are never sure if we have it or if someone we have come in contact with has it. The constant safety guidelines that we must follow such as social distancing,  the wearing of a face covering, the frequent washing of our hands, staying home as much as possible, and not being able to eat in a restaurant or shop freely keeps all of us feeling as if we have the disease or the people we are around have it even when neither may be true. You nor the people that you are interacting with may have Covid-19 and yet we are made to feel as we or they do. We just don't know, so we almost automatically default to everyone must have it and keep our distance from everyone. The mask seemingly screams "Unclean! Unclean! whether you have the coronavirus or not. When we do make our way out of the house, we make sure that as soon as we return home, that we strip, place the clothes that we have worn in the laundry and immediately take a shower as if indeed contact with anyone has made us unclean.  Even if you don't have Covid-19 and have never tested positive, you almost can't help but feel as if you have it based on how we have to interact with each other. 

Which brings me to my question. What is all of this social distancing and everything else that we have to do to hopefully remain coronavirus-free doing to our psyche?  What is the constant feeling of either I have a virus or someone thinks I have a virus doing to us? Think about it. On a daily basis, we either act as if we have it or as if whomever we are going to come into contact with has it. What is that doing to our minds? What is that doing to our spirits? Not for nothing, what is it doing to our bodies? (they are all connected, you know). 

Personally, I hate this feeling of someone thinking that I have a contagious disease that I don't have and me having to think that someone else has a disease that they do not. I hate this assumption that I am going to catch this deadly disease from family members, friends, co-workers, or even strangers on the street if I do not have a face covering over my mouth and nose and wash my hands every five minutes. Yet, by now, we all have suffered a loss or losses of people that we know and love to this killer virus. As of this writing, according to The New York Times, we have had 439 thousand deaths in the United States and 2.22 million worldwide with 103 million cases worldwide. Again, I ask, what is this doing to our psyche? 

Even when we gain control of Covid-19, what has this done to our trust of what was prior to Covid-19 taken for granted such as eating in a restaurant, flying on an airplane, or staying in a hotel? Yes, we always have known that when you stay in a hotel that someone else had slept in the same bed that you were sleeping in or showered in the same shower, and yet as we move forward will we always be questioning now if the beds or showers were sanitized enough for me not to catch the virus if by chance the person before me did have it? (remember, we are assuming everyone has it). 

These are just some thoughts that come to mind that I thought I'd share. I believe it is something to critically think about. Please stay safe. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

American Reckoning - A PBS NewsHour Special Report


Saturday, January 9, 2021


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

We As Adult Children Must Show Compassion and Have Patience With Our Senior Adult Parents

The story that I am going to share with you in this post touched me so much that I have shared it on all of my podcast platforms and decided to share it in this blog format too.  I know that people receive information in different ways so I am providing it auditorily in my podcasts and visually in this blog. Maybe the story touched me so much because my mom is eighty-two years old. Maybe it touched me because her sight is not as good as it used to be. Maybe it touched me because her hearing is not as good as it used to be and maybe just maybe it touched me because her hands are not as steady as they once were. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older.

What I think got me the most though was....................(I won't share that here, I'll share the story and let you decide what moves you.)  The story below is from a book written by Robin Sharma titled THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI. 

"There was once a feeble old woman whose loving husband died. So she went to live with her son and his wife and daughter. Every day, the woman's sight grew worse and her hearing grew worse. Some days her hands trembled so badly the peas on her plate rolled onto the floor and the soup ran from her cup. Her son and wife couldn't help but be annoyed at the mess she made and one day they said enough was enough. So they set up a little table for the old woman in a corner next to the broom closet and made her eat all of her meals there, alone. She would look at them at mealtimes with tear-filled eyes from across the room, but they hardly talked to her while they ate, except to scold her for dropping a spoon or fork.

One evening, just before dinner, the little girl was sitting on the floor playing with her building blocks. What are you making? her father asked earnestly. I'm building a little table for you and mother she said, so you can eat by yourselves in the corner someday when I get big. The father and mother were moved to silence for what seemed like an eternity. Then they started to weep. In that instant they became aware of the nature of their actions and the sadness they had caused. That night they led the old woman back to her rightful place at their big dinner table and from that day on she ate all her meals with them. And when a little morsel of food fell off the table or a fork strayed onto the floor, nobody seemed to mind anymore." 

The moral of the story: Compassion and daily acts of kindness make life far richer. Something to think about. 

The Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often Podcast 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

More Than Just The Number In The Year Need To Change

Well, here we are at the end of another year, and what a year it has been because of COVID-19 coronavirus. I keep hearing and reading how everyone cannot wait for 2020 to be over and I get it; however, in my mind, more than just the change in the last two digits in the year must change. It's great that we are going to move from 2020 to 2021, yet, if the only thing that changes is the 20 to the 21, we are going to have the same thing that we had in 2020. The fact of the matter is, COVID-19 coronavirus will carry over into 2021 and we are really nowhere close to being out of the woods with this deadly pathogen. Yes!, it is great that we have a vaccine that will help us slow the contraction of the disease, but we must still do our part with social distancing, the washing of hands frequently (which we should have been doing anyway), and the wearing of a face-covering over the mouth AND nose. 

Beyond these measures to stem the spread of the germs, more importantly, what needs to change beyond the last two digits in the year are our hearts, thinking, attitudes, and how we treat each other as human beings. The last four years under the leadership or lack thereof of  Donald J. Trump has brought out the absolute worst in people. His evil spiritedness unleashed closeted hatred among those who had been harboring these feelings for decades. Trump became the poster child for Eurocentric thinking Caucasians who in their mind feel they are disenfranchised due to some entitlement not being received by them and being taken by people of color (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and any other group believed to be immigrants and of non-European descent). "Making America Great Again" actually materialized into "Making America Hate Again." 

It is heart and soul thinking that must change if 2021 is going to be any better than 2020. Our year was so horrid not just because of COVID-19, but because of how we treated each other as human beings. Folks were being blatantly and needlessly killed such as the George Floyd debacle where that white officer seemed to be celebrating with his body language and facial expression the fact that he was slowly and mercilessly taking the life of another human being. One who was calling out to his mother and pleading with him that he could not breathe. Not the first African American male to tell an officer that he could not breathe as a result of the hold that he had on him. We saw countless other violent acts and actions that impacted us as human beings. I keep using the term "Human Beings" because regardless of our skin color or ethnic backgrounds, at the end of the day, that is what we are........human beings. We are all somebody's son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, grandmother, grandfather and the relational list can go on and on. And yet, we are being taken away as if we don't matter. Pure unadulterated hatred and it's sad. 

If we carry over into 2021 the same old hateful behavior that we had in 2020, we will get more of the same. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. These words are usually credited to the acclaimed genius Albert Einstein and I find whether it was Mr. Einsteinn or whoever said it to be a correct observation. If we hate the same way we hated in 2020, we will continue to get the hate and destruction in 2021. It's that simple. In the words of  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." The question is, will we learn to live together regardless of skin color, political affiliation, sexual preference, gender, religious belief, ethnic background, or any other "ism," or are we going to continue to perish together as fools? When you really think about it, all of the differentiations listed really don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, my dear readers of this blog, much more need to change than just the last two digits in the year. Much more than just 20 moving to 21 must change, otherwise, we still will just be getting more of the same. If you want to get a Biblical idea of what we have been experiencing particularly over the last four years, I invite you to go in the Bible to 1 Samuel - Chapter 8 and read it in its entirety. It is the story of Israel asking for a king. God gave them their king and everything that came along with him. 

Folks, when all is said and done, and all is done and said, it is US who must change and not just the year. Have a Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year and as Michael Jackson can sing, let's start looking at the man in the mirror. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

We Survived Thanksgiving 2020 Without A House Full Of Folks

Yes, believe it or not, we survived Thanksgiving 2020 without a house full of folks. I'm sure by now you are wondering and asking what is meant by the title? I'm glad you asked. I don't think it can be repeated enough that 2020 has been a year like no other. If I had a dollar for every time the word "unprecedented" was used this year, I'd be a very rich man right now. The COVID-19 coronavirus blindsided the world like no other in recent times. 

With the virus came guidelines and restrictions to stop it from spreading. Guidelines that were put in place for our safety, became foolishly politicized. Comparisons to slavery and the civil rights movement were ignorantly bandied about by those who hated being inconvenienced by not being able to go to the gym, restaurant, or to the bar. Our daily routines were indeed altered. Who knew when we learned of the virus in the first quarter of 2020 that we would still be grappling with it come the fourth quarter of 2020 and beyond? Vacations were canceled. Weddings, births, and deaths occurred in ways that were absent of customary rituals and celebrations. We actually spent more energy fighting to stay alive than we did living. We were and still are being treated as lepers not knowing if we are going to catch the virus from someone or give the virus to someone. 

The guidelines to keep us safe were met with much more resistance than needed, particularly the wearing of a face covering and not gathering indoors in large crowds. Folks stubbornly held large parties and blatantly refused to wear a face covering to the point of holding "No Mask Wearing" protests and rallies. The life of Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer was threatened because of her desire to keep her state safe. There actually was a plot to kidnap her. Can you believe that? (Oh how far we've fallen). 

A face covering is a piece of cloth just as a seat belt is a piece of cloth. Both are worn for protection and the saving of lives. It has nothing to do with freedom or constitutional rights or anything political for that matter. One of the primary ways that the virus is spread is through droplets in our saliva that gets inhaled by others when in close proximity to one talking, coughing, sneezing, or any other way of expelling the droplets or mist containing the highly contagious germs. As a matter of fact for those who think they are complying by wearing the mask just over the mouth and not the nose too, might as well not wear the mask at all because it is through the nose, just like the mouth that the contagion enters the body. 

The politicization of the virus and safety guidelines did America far more harm than was needed. Other countries that followed their guidelines experienced a significant decrease in cases and deaths in comparison to the United States. We were so busy politicizing the disease that we cut off our nose to spite our face (no pun intended). 

Which brings me to my title. There were a whole bunch of folks who didn't think we would survive Thanksgiving without a cast of thousands (I'm being facetious and sarcastic but you get my point) in their houses sitting around the dinner table as we traditionally and customarily do. Guess what? We survived with two or three gathered. Believe it or not, thanks were still given, dinner was still had and people managed to make the best of a very challenging situation. The reason for this post is that it's going to be the same for Christmas and New Year's. The COVID-19 numbers have spiked back up causing the safety restrictions to be re-enacted and enforced especially where indoor crowds are concerned. It is winter and the weather is colder forcing most to be indoors. It is indoors in groups where the virus does its thing. 

So if we want to be able to get back to having the cast of thousands around the table for Thanksgiving in 2021, we must do what we need to do now in order for that to happen. Is it a sacrifice? Yes, it is. Do we want to at some point get back to some semblance of normalcy? Yes, we do. We won't get there any time soon however as long as there are those who stubbornly refuse to comply. At this point, we are our own COVID-19 worst enemies. The virus is not a hoax or a joke and you can ask anyone who has experienced it or the 300,000 plus family members who have lost a loved one to it. 

So come on folks, in the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues "Let's be careful out there." Do not put yourself and your loved ones at risk by having large gatherings in your homes for the holidays or going out clubbing in densely populated bars. It's not worth it. Wash your hands frequently and stay six feet apart from each other and by all means, WEAR A MASK!!