Blank Spaces

So we’re now at that part of the shelter in place situation where our future looks like a blank space. We don’t know what we don’t know that we can’t know and nobody else seems to be much better informed. Possibilities are flying around on magical vaccines, clever drug combos, or rolling quarantines. Can we go back to work in May maybe? Should we go back to work – well once again nobody knows.

We are staring at a blank canvas where our familiar life used to be. To add to the complexity we don’t even know what colors will be available to us for painting our new lives. If you took two pieces of paper and wrote, “What we know,” on one and, “What we don’t know on the other,” you would immediately see why this time period is so hard.

For a mini-break in the evenings, when our three wild elementary kids are finally asleep, my husband and I are watching episodes of, “Foyle’s War.” The show is a British crime drama about a clever policeman in England at the end of WWII. As I watch I’m struck at how frightened the English were that the Germans would win. There was a pervasive thick fear hanging over everyone with some citizens becoming Nazis just to prepare for surviving the anticipated occupation.

Looking at time period of the show I realized all this history was happening just twenty years before I arrived on the planet. I think of WWII as feeling 100 years before my time but this terrifying crisis happened a mere two decades before my birth. As I look around at the current crisis history like WWII reminds me we’ve been through worst and survived. I’m also reminded any population during a bad crisis breathes within a sense of doom every day the crisis continues.

The people in England that held their breath waiting for a German invasion are eerrily similar to people all over our nation waiting to see how far this virus invades our economy, our mental health, and our freedoms. As I watch the show I feel comforted by knowing the end of story. I know all these characters will be okay. I know the war will end and they will win. However, none of this knowledge was available to comfort people that lived through that crisis.

Perhaps we can view this crisis from the lens of the future and know that even without knowing exactly how this story ends that it will indeed have an ending, that we will be okay, and this viral war will not last forever. WWII didn’t ruin England and this virus won’t ruin us.

There will be casualties, there will be burned out buildings where our familiar habits used to live, and a few more bombs will drop before we declare victory. Then we will rebuild, and be able to know the end of this story. And someday in the future someone will be watching a television series about the, “Great Pandemic of 2020,” and will calmly sit through the show that is now our lives knowing it all turns out well in the end.

May you be well, may you be at peace, may you come out of this crisis better than you went in!


Dr. Skube


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