About three months ago, I read a book entitled As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner. It described in detail the effects of the flu epidemic in 1918 coinciding with World War1. More people died of the flu than those who died in the war. As I read about the schools and churches being closed and no place to bury or commemorate the dead, I was so thankful that I was living today where we have a better scientific understanding of infections and a vaccine for the flu. But then Covid-19 hit us with 10,000 deaths in the US and 70,000 worldwide according to a John Hopkin’s study 4/5/20.
The novel based on research helped me to understand what is going on today. It was an eye opener for me since my mother being the 12th child in her family, talked about her oldest sister, Belinda, who lost her husband. leaving her as a widow with a son. I heard a few stories from my mother about that time. One day, as a child, she was walking in the dark from the barn to the house in Valders, Wisconsin. She was trembling with fear until she noticed an angel by her side. Her sister said, “That was probably your cousin who died in the flu pandemic.” Whether it was her imagination or a guardian angel, she grew up well aware of the many lives taken by the flu. She was even told that she had the flu and was spared when she had a nose bleed. These were stories I heard as a child.
And here we are on Sunday, April 5th, taking drastic measures to save lives as we practice social distancing and limit our trips to the store. What are we learning about life? Yesterday while we worked in our backyard, we had a lengthy talk with the neighbor behind us. I learned more about his life than I did in the 20 years I knew Dale. As I take my walks, people seem friendlier and less consumed with self and more ready to smile and say hello. We realize now how precious life is and how soon it can be taken. “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4
I leave you with a poem.
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” By Kitty O’Meora