We’re still here. We’re mostly staying home but we’re starting to venture out into what I’ve come to call “the fray,” doing what we hope will keep us safe. We’re running on blind faith which means believing in something without evidence or proof. Believing in something without true understanding, perception or the ability to discriminate, based on facts.
At the very beginning, before we were urged to cover our faces (it feels like decades ago), I went to Costco to pick up a prescription. Everyone looked scared and discombobulated. I ran into a neighbor there, he was wearing a face masks without gloves. I was wearing gloves and no face mask. No one was sure about what was best, about what would protect us and what would leave us vulnerable. We know a little bit more now but the information is slow to arrive and we are faced with some hard choices.
It reminds me of another virus, AIDS, that I first learned about in the nineteen eighties. We didn’t know much at first. We didn’t know how it was transmitted and what it was capable of. The powers that be eventually informed the public that you could get the virus by sharing bodily fluids but it was okay to touch each other. We weren’t sure whether or not to believe that, but since I’d lost one of my closest friends to AIDS, I felt moved to volunteer at Chris Brownlie AIDS hospice. Twenty-six beds. Twenty-six dying people. I remember driving into the lot and parking, slowly getting out of my car, walking up to the front door and standing there, paralyzed with fear. What if I were about to put myself at risk for a horrible disease? What if the authorities were wrong? Very few studies had been conducted as yet, and researchers were only just learning about HIV and its various strains and potencies. What if they found out that the disease was airborne? What if it made its way in through the pores of the body?
I couldn’t muster the courage to go in. I might have stood there all day if a nurse hadn’t parked his car in the lot and stepped in front of me to open the door. He and I walked in together, he smiled at me and directed me down a hallway toward a sign with a red arrow that read “Volunteers.” Once I was inside, my fears began to dissipate and they were replaced with curiosity and wonder. I wanted to help and I visited young dying people, held their hands and listened to their stories. I was running on blind faith.
In our current reality, although some restaurants, hair salons and certain places of business are slowly opening their doors, we have some decisions to make. Do we go in or wait? When is it safe and when is it dangerous? There are no definitive answers as yet so the only thing we can do is trust our gut, forget about what somebody else is doing and do what makes sense to us. No judging or thinking we know better. No trying to talk someone else into doing what we want them to do. Let’s be compassionate enough to accept each other’s decisions in this difficult time, even if they’re different from ours. Answers will come. Hopefully, so will a vaccine. Some day, we’ll be able to touch and hug each other again. We just don’t know when. Until then, as we try to find comfort in this upside down world, we each have to choose what feels right to us as we move forward with blind faith – because that’s all we have.