I don’t usually post on a Wednesday but I have some thoughts to share amidst the hysteria. But first I want to talk about some old people I love.
Lord willing my Uncle Jack will turn 90 in October. He’s a stud. Just like my dad he was both an engineer and a fighter pilot. He’s been a faithful church member, caring for others, his whole life. My Uncle Jack and Aunt Ruth were our first family members to visit us at our new home in Tennessee four years ago. He cracked up that I was worried about him driving up the mountain. He also told me how he was repairing something under his lake house. I don’t know if you have an 80-something uncle who crawls under structures to make repairs, but I find it both stunning and inspiring. But can I be honest? Uncle Jack is going to die, and probably that won’t be too far in the future. I love him. I am in awe of him. But he’s going to die. Just like everyone else on this earth. We do not know the day or the hour, but we are all one day closer to death than we were yesterday. Make sure you know Jesus, and proceed with life. That is always, always, always THE answer.
Where I vacation I have a next door neighbor in her 80’s. She’s the cutest most delightful person I know. I don’t mean cute and delightful for an 80-year-old. I mean she is literally THE cutest, MOST delightful person I know. Would I hug her right now? Of course not. Would I ride in the elevator with her? Nope. I could drop supplies off at her door, but I will not get close to her because I will not risk getting her sick. We all know by now that a lot of transmissions of coronavirus are from people who have no symptoms.
So here’s the deal people: Be ready to die, and proceed with life. Use common sense and be respectful of those most vulnerable.
All that said, the shutdown of life strikes me as irrational and short-sighted. Old smokers from Italy are dropping like flies and somehow this translates into shutting down schools across America. Wait, what? How do you figure?
Let’s use some perspective. We all die. There is no way to avoid death. People literally die every day. I realize that’s a ridiculous statement but we are living in world that denies reality. We need to be reminded of the most basic of truths. No measures taken by society, however draconian, will prevent death. Think about all the ways people die. There are over 38,000 automobile fatalities a year. That’s 104 per day. Almost 4000 Americans were murdered in 2019. Heart disease kills 647,000 Americans per year, or more than 1,700 per day. There were over 70,000 fatalities from drug overdoses in 2017 in the U.S., and we all know how that’s trending. Obesity related deaths total 300,000 per year. In the last ten months there have been more than 60 vaping deaths. In 2009, an estimated 18,000 Americans died of H1N1. That pandemic didn’t tank the markets or life as we know it, and it wasn’t because people weren’t dying. How and when did this nonsense that we can avoid death take root? How can we witness deaths from so many causes, and yet be utterly obsessed with this one cause?
Mr. Rogers said his mother would encourage him in the midst of something scary to look for the helpers. And that’s great advice. There are always helpers. Unfortunately there are also always cowards and drama addicts. Look for them too and avoid them like the actual plague. Do not let their voices speak into your life. Pray for them. Have compassion on them — not easy for me, at all. Honestly I feel a lot of disdain for the cowards and the drama addicts, but I am trying.
I’ve been thinking about what someone like C.S. Lewis would say. We’ve probably all seen his sage advice about living in the age of the atomic bomb. I’m not sure what he’d say now, but I know he wouldn’t fall in line like a lemming. He’d have a few insights that we’d all be like, “Wow, now that you’ve said that, it seems so obvious.” And it wouldn’t be anything that’s been said before.
I wonder too what my dad would say. Roy Huber was the most solution-minded person I’ve ever known. He wouldn’t panic or complain. He’d be ready to die and he’d spend his quarantine time brainstorming about what might help. I had an idea that I think is kinda Roy-like. That’s the most boastful thing I’ve ever said in my life, but hear me out. You know how there’s a Do Not Call National Registry? I think we should start a different kind of registry. It would require that Americans 75 and over register for a Do Everything List. If you do not register for the Do Everything List, then we will assume you are DNI (Do Not Intubate). I think that immediately solves the care rationing problem, faster than ordering more respirators. If it doesn’t, then we lower the age. I think a lot of older Americans — who are educated about what being intubated would be like — will thoughtfully and selflessly choose not to be on the Do Everything List. If it gets bad enough, I am happy to be DNI so that some youngster can live.
I’m 48 years old. I’ve lived more than half my life. It has been a life of blessing upon blessing, grace upon grace, and enough sorrow to help me not take it for granted. If the most pessimistic among us are the ones who get this right, by all means please save the youngster. I’d like to finish raising my sons and maybe see Israel or something, but truly, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If you know the Creator of the world, who is the One who loves you more than anyone on this earth ever could, then what do you have to fear?
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”Philippians 1:21 NIV
DISCLAIMER: THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN AND IN NO WAY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF ANY HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL I MAY KNOW, INTIMATELY OR OTHERWISE.
P.S. Read and meditate on the Psalms, especially 46 and 91.
P.S.S. Praise God for the brilliance of scientists working on the vaccine and pray that they complete their work in record time. The H1N1 vaccine was available just a few months after it reared its ugly head — which is so encouraging!
P.S.S.S Please take time to read this article. I have been saying that once the cat is out of the bag, testing would need to be universal and daily. This author wisely points out that we just need truly random testing. Maybe test by randomly chosen social security number? Bottom line is we need better information, and once you understand that cruise ship scenario you understand that testing more people with symptoms won’t reveal much at all. https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/