One of the many looming questions related to the Coronavirus recovery has been will people ever feel safe enough to return to the daily activities of life, or will the fear of becoming infected keep them paranoid, hyper-vigilant, isolated, and sheltered. This concern for the health of the collective American Psyche is a real one and will have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness of getting our economic engine roaring once again. Kevin Costner’s character in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” said the famous line, “If you build it, he will come” – but will they?
Sunday, across the country, restaurants found families gathering inside their establishments to celebrate the tradition of taking mom to lunch or dinner on her special day. How fitting, that Mothers Day 2020, offered the first glimpse or mental health check up on the citizen patient. After all, mothers taught us all how to overcome or fears, rational and irrational, and pushed us to become autonomous. And who better to have as support than your mother when you must rise to the challenge of re-entry into normal post lockdown world.
Happy Mother’s Day from C& C in Castle Rock, where the owner said this is almost double a normal Mother’s Day. pic.twitter.com/cPSzjmAfAg
— Nick Puckett (@nick__puckett) May 10, 2020
President Harry S.Truman said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” And the task at hand was letting go of the fear and finding the will to be resilient and optimistic again.
That adage when you fall off a horse get right back up again is meant to invoke an action, so you have little time to dwell on the fear of the fall itself. Action often shifts the mind away from ruminating on how anxious we may be feeling and reinforces the reality we no longer have to perseverate. As we grow as children, we are conditioned to feel safe when our external world matches our internal state of feelings. This balance provides a sense of control and focus. Americans have been living in a COVID-19 shutdown world that did not match their internal need to be self-determining made worse by uncertainty. Mothers Day, in some small way, may have been the first broad test, and the great news is many passed.
Citizens starting up their lives again do not live under some notion that they are guaranteed not to become infected. There is an understanding that this virus, like influenza, is something we all must learn to live with and manage.No, not all eateries were open, and yes guidelines were followed to varying degrees, and even a few establishments defied current state-ordered restrictions Servers, and restaurant staff wore masks and PPE, had 50% occupancy limits, and some establishments checked temperatures of patrons before entrance granted.
But Choosing to return to the routines and normal life patterns rather than feeling helpless and oppressed by the pathogen will only spark the innovation and ingenuity we all need to conquer the crisis once and for all. The illness is only one aspect of what must be defeated in this crisis, repairing what feels like a mortal blow to our economy and healing our emotional panic are equally significant for success. Feeling normal again is healthy for you! We are touched by the words of Mark Twain:
“We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.”
We all remember when we first learned how to swim or ride a bike. Mothers Day was the toe in the water, and the feeling of Dad’s hand letting go of the bike seat. It felt exhilarating then and now. Fellow Americans, the state of our fear is lessening, and we can build on that! We have to.