Searching for stability

Author: admin

America is no longer a divided country. It’s become a fractured country. With an uncertain future.

We used to have a division or two. Or more. Socially. Black and white. Rich and poor. Young and old. Politically, left and right. Far left and far right.

Easily defined divisions. Easily understood. Divisions this nation has yet to solve. Maybe they’re unsolvable. But, we’ve known them. Lived with them.

Now, under the tutelage of one Donald J.Trump, the Internet with its (un)social media, a decision by a few million folks that their ignorance is just as good as your fact-based intelligence and the sweeping killer/destroyer that is COVID-19, a giant hammer has split those earlier divisions like so many crushed ice cubes.

I hear people say “I’ll be glad when things get back to normal again.” Well, my friends, that ain’t happening. The life you and I lived a year or two ago is gone. G-O-N-E. And not coming back.

I have yet to hear a thoughtful voice offering a knowledgeable prediction of what our “normal” will be, say eight or nine months from now. Forget five years or so. Given the entire world’s upheaval – socially- morally – politically-medically – making such predictions is a “fool’s errand.” It can’t be done.

We’ve all lived with change – lived with it – adjusted to it – accepted it. But, the massive upheaval of so many basic foundations in our social/business/political worlds we’re experiencing all at once is a new phenomenon. We – and our nation – can be defined, at the moment, as uncertain, unsettled, somewhat confused, fearful and even scared.

Someone asked me recently, “How do we stop the madness we’ve lived with on our cities streets? What can we do?”

Like you, about the only answer (non-answer) was “Vote in November.” That’s it? “Vote?”

But, let’s look at “peaceful” changes.

Tried doing business with stores lately? Notice any changes? Had a doctor’s appointment recently? Anything different? Banks. Banks are the worst.

Stores say they’re having coin shortages. I’ve got a sizable bowl filled with change from my pockets at night. Asked the drive-up teller today if I could bring them in so they could use their coin count machine. As I’ve done many times before.

“No,” she told me. Said I’d “need an appointment.” And I’d have to sort, count and roll them myself. I won’t be helping with the coin shortage anytime soon.

Hospitals are changing. Dealing with conditions they’ve never known before. Every department from surgery to admissions to food service to security is being affected. When whatever our new “normal” comes around, they’ll be much different, too.

Law enforcement. Now, talk about upheaval and change. Damn! Possibly no other line of endeavor is being hit with so much c-h-a-n-g-e. From top cop to lowest ranking officer on the street. Policies, tactics, operations, citizen relations. All in flux. What’s policing going to look like a few years from now?

Education. Teachers. Curriculum. Classroom safety. Upheavals that will affect the system for many years. Teachers back in the classroom with the specter of COVID-19. If professional athletes won‘t play because of fears of infection, what does a teacher face in the confines of a classroom with 20-30 kids carrying God knows what? What do our kids and grandkids face? What are their chances for infection and death? Talk about change!

Religion. We couldn’t gather to worship for many months – to sing the familiar hymns. We couldn’t share communion together. Absolution came electronically. And singularly.

Everything – everything – at the moment is in flux. The pressures being exerted on our lives are immense. At my late stage, planning isn’t nearly as hard as it is for folks 20 to 45. When all of this shakes out, what will their lives look like? What affects will all of these changes have on their lives? Their kids. Employment. Friends. Health care. Making plans for the future.

If you’re a young person starting out in life – if you’re at mid-life planning for retirement – if you’re retired and concerned about extending your savings or have problems with health – no matter who you are or where you are in life, the most important support you need is stability. A feeling of permanence. Of structure.

“Permanence.” “ Structure.” There’s not a lot of either at the moment. And, there likely won’t be better conditions in the near future. This COVID thing is an ever-present threat in our lives. We’re told it’s mutated and will continue to do so in the future. Then, there’s Monkeypox coming to our neighborhoods soon.

If all this sounds confusing and unsettled, that’s because it is. Things we considered normal just two years ago now seem unreal. As a nation, we’re a bit staggered, a little off-kilter and sort of frozen in the moment.

As for the pandemic now controlling our lives, it’ll recede. May take a year, maybe two or three. But, we’ll get on top of it. Whatever the disaster, we’ve always found a way.

Hang in there. Try to keep your balance.

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