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Monday, March 16, 2020

Sheltering in Place

Here we are, the elderly supposed to not go out unless necessary. Store shelves empty as panic sets in. A lot of society shut down, no church, movies, gyms, restaurants etc. Borders are shut, travel discouraged.

Why? In my 80 years there have been epidemics and pandemics. There was no massive shut down. I hear the worst one in the 20th century was the 1918 Spanish Flu, before my time. A huge number of people died. So far, this one has a death rate at the most 3.7% in China and a lot less elsewhere. So why are we shutting down? Is there something we're not being told?

The contagion of fear is both fascinating and weird, hard to understand. I suppose fear in general can be hard to understand. Some people are almost paralyzed by their fears. Some people are afraid of what others might think trivial. Some people are afraid of actual things, the burglar downstairs or the potential loss of a loved one.

As a child, I was afraid of the boogeyman so elegantly described by my grandmother. Even worse was her story of a man in Pittsburg who climbed into a bad little girl's window and chopped her up into inch cubes --- and he was coming for me. I spent many a night terrified, hiding in the covers. It was irrational fear made seemingly rational by the authority of adult superiority. It lurks in my subconscious and peeks up once in awhile still. I often say that my sweet husband saves me from the man in Pittsburg.

For the most part, I have come to think fear is rarely useful. Sure in an actual emergency it can rally a person's super strength. But we not often in an actual dangerous situation. Many of our fears are born in our imaginations or in someone else's imagination. Someone has said fear is false evidence appearing real. It seems to me we can rise above most fears.

I've been told the fear of death is behind most fears. It seems to me this is a valid observation. I sometimes wonder why. We all come to the end of this earthly life and are born into another life. I absolutely know life continues. I'm not in a hurry to go on, and I'm not afraid either. Life continues. Let us be at peace.

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