We’ve heard the news reports about COVID-19. In Australia, the Prime Minister has asked that we practice social distancing. Large gatherings have been cancelled. People are hoarding and our supermarket shelves are empty. Many are frantic as they react to reports of people dying from the virus. Businesses are suffering and some have already been stood down from their jobs.

We are living in different times; some say this is akin to the first and second world wars. Change is required of us, and change is frightening. We all fear change, but it is inevitable. It hurts. It forces us to see life differently and to re-think how we do things. This is major change; the entire world is affected.

We have been influenced by the ‘flock’. A few individuals are afraid and the rest of us have followed suite. Mass hysteria has never been effective in fighting a global pandemic.

If we take a step back from the impending doom on our televisions, and the negativity from newspapers, perhaps there is a different way of seeing this scenario.

My great grandparents travelled miles with a horse and buggy, over sandhills with their family and all their belongings. It would have been frightening for them too. It was much more dangerous back then. They were at risk of starvation and sickness and had no medical help of the type we are accustomed. They were more vulnerable than we are now. Yet, they persevered and survived.

Self-isolation reminds me of living on the farm as a child. Our home was our world, family and pets were the way we connected with it. We lived 12 km from a small town which had only one store to buy food, the selection was limited. But we survived. Those times were simpler.

Let’s break this down into smaller parts. Most of us are likely to conquer the virus. That is, we will live to see another day.

The way I understand it, we need to delay the spread of this virus until a vaccine is available. There are those in our community who are not so lucky. For whatever reason, they are living with a compromised immune system. These are the elderly and those with chronic health conditions.

In previous worldwide tragedies, community gave us strength. We banded together, supported one another and became stronger in the process.

That’s what we must do now. Take a break from the panic, the fear-filled conversations and personal frustration. What can we do to support each other? How can this situation be used to create community in our area? Because, we still need love, care understanding and compassion. We need each other.

If you are like me and lucky to be healthy, why not support those who are truly at risk. Let us change our focus from our fear to supporting those who have much more to lose.

This week I have begun offering help to those who are at risk. I have decided to get essential items for these people so they can quarantine themselves, limiting their contact with potential carriers of the virus. I know I am not the only one doing this.

My question is: what can we do to best help those who are at greater risk than ourselves?

In love, Jenny

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