Jay Lenkersdorfer

Seriously folks

How worried are you about the state of things in this world? Your answer might have a lot to do with how old you are, where you live and even your current health.

When I apply the ‘state of the world’ question to my own life and those around me I would have to answer moderately worried. Had you asked me the same question one day ago I would have ranked my response as not too concerned. The difference is simple – there are now multiple people in the Mini-Cassia area that have tested positive for the COVID – 19 virus.

We all like to think of the world around us as a microcosm where outside influences don’t really impact us. To see the spread of the virus in China was interesting but hardly a threat to me and my family. The coverage in the media has been non-stop and the result is a heightened awareness about the spread of COVID-19. Seeing the disaster in Italy play itself out hour by hour was a possible precursor of how it would play itself out in other countries should their populations not take it seriously. If you are Italian there is no doubt that this outbreak has impacted your life with hundreds dying every day.

As an Idahoan it was easy to look down our noses at the rest of the country because we were one of the last places to see any spread of the virus. Our largely rural existence played into the low-key approach we took as a state and as individual communities.

Seeing one case in Ada County didn’t alarm me but when the Blaine County infections were announced it brought things much closer to home. Residents of Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Belleview all shop in the same Twin Falls big box stores that I shop in. It was no longer a factor that impacted others and not me because of where we could become casually exposed to each other.  A planned trip to Costco and Home Depot was put on hold and other casual trips around town were given much more scrutiny.

I feel like our immediate family has taken this very seriously, but it hasn’t been so with some family members. One brother is so unconcerned that he and his kids packed up and drove to California for Spring Break. He did this knowing that the California Governor had put his state on lockdown, essentially restricting any travel that wasn’t critical. A vacation rental in Los Angeles, California is hardly a necessity to me but for him and his family it was just what the doctor ordered.

They say they will stay away from others and not expose themselves to any sickos, but both you and I know that it is virtually impossible to know who is infected and who is not. Another family member also took a trip to California several weeks ago, bragging that Disneyland never had so few people in the lines. Once they got back to the farm they decided to impose a two-week restriction where they would not go and see their parents, just in case they had been exposed while out, but they were almost flippant about the risk.

I find it interesting that it is so easy for some to think “it won’t happen to me,” while the rest of us are doing what we can to limit our exposure to the virus by avoiding groups of any size and not leaving the house unless it is absolutely necessary. We were blessed to have a good supply of food in our pantry, so we haven’t had to go out shopping, but not everyone is in the same situation.

We have found solace in having enough for our needs and have used our informal network of friends and family to help us share our bounty with others who are also in need. As I wrote this column I received a phone call from a local woman who encouraged me to remember to pray for others and stop blaming our president for the state of things. She was one hundred percent correct that we should eliminate the blame game. Sometimes we face a hardship thinking we are alone but there are always others who can and will help us should we be in need.

If you have an elderly neighbor or know someone with special needs I would encourage you to seek out opportunities to give service. If you are going to the store for a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread or some other need, consider picking up a few items for someone that can’t get out of the house. If you are baking a loaf of bread go the extra mile and bake two or three – then rediscover the joy of passing it along to someone in need.

We are in this together. If we all take our situation seriously we will find our burdens will be made lighter through our connections to our neighbors, co-workers and those we worship with. It will take many more months for this to play itself out so use patience, be kind, and follow the direction of those leaders in our communities, states, and country who truly want the best for us. And don’t forget to pray.

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