When reports of COVID-19 began to surface I was focused on other aspects of my life so I paid little attention to it. As the news media began to provide more coverage of it I found myself thinking it was little more than over-hyped speculation.
For a time I also rationalized my lack of concern by sharing posts of diseases that were making far more human beings sick and dying than what COVID-19 was doing in the world.
Then, as my Daughter and I made our way back from Pennsylvania from a re-routed trip to the Minnesota Twins/Boston Red Sox Spring Training, I began to feel the gnawing concern that maybe this was going to be more trouble than I had assumed.
As we pulled into the driveway of our home it was almost as a living fog rolled over us and the two of us, along with my wife and son and our smelly dog, found ourselves, like millions of Americans, living in an isolation that was intended to protect us from the disease.
In the matter of weeks, literally, the world economy came to a near standstill. Seemingly overnight millions of Americans were suddenly out of work, companies shuttered and all we saw and heard for days and days were headlines blaring out the number of sick, the dead and the dying.
Analysts and experts predicting a dystopian future, a permanent “New Normal”, offered little in the way of hope for a way forward.
As the angel of death has passed by more American homes than had been predicted — guessed– imagined — America has begun to find its balance.
We have also begun to look for somebody to blame.
It is human nature, to be sure, to place blame somewhere for our pain and suffering.
In the smoldering heap of lost jobs, dreams, income, savings, homes, businesses, school years, graduations, proms, weddings, and funerals there will come a raging fire of recrimination and blame.
Who is responsible for all this pain and suffering? Who failed to take care of all of this? Who didn’t do their job?
Who caused the world to stop?
Which is where I need to stop.
I can’t. I really….can’t.
What will it do? What can it do?
If all I do is find somebody to blame, I won’t find somebody to work with to make sure all of this doesn’t happen again.
Blame isn’t going to repair the economy, bring people back their job, restore hope and confidence in the future for my children.
I didn’t know better than anybody else what to do, or should have been done, and if I claim now that I did, I am a liar.
People we elected to lead did what they thought was the right thing to do, made the decisions they thought were the right ones to make, chose the direction they felt we needed to go with the best information they had available when they made those decisions.
Oh, it is so, so tempting to second-guess all of it. So easy to say, in the growing moments of hindsight, that they shouldn’t have done this and shouldn’t have done that.
I so badly want to do that. I want to point fingers. I want to scream out “Why?” and “Why not?” and “Why did you?” and “Why didn’t you?”
I find myself falling into that river of blame and the current is fast and furious.
I have to swim hard to get back to shore and get out of the water before it sweeps me further downstream.
It’s so easy, though, to let the current carry me along.
Somehow I have to find the courage to get out of the water and get back on my feet and focus on what matters now, more than anything else, and that is: “What do I do next?”
The blaming is easy.
It’s the “What’s Next” that’s so much harder to do.