We Didn't Know This Would Happen
We never know what's going to happen. Unless you're a psychic, or a prophet, or a seer, or what have you... you don't know the future. You'll never know. You may get an impression that something bad or good is going to happen, you may know your calling in life. (Refer to: https://www.christina-hastings.com/post/you-got-coverage) But I will bet that you have no idea how exactly your future is going to fold out, "For you do not know the day or hour..." (Matthew 25:13). And like me, I assume many of you did not know this coronavirus pandemic would surface.
I was talking to a friend of mine who made a very good point. "COVID-19 will be the same as 9/11. Everyone remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news of the breakout." The news of this breakout was such a shock, that the events leading up to it will remain plastered in our minds for years and years to come.
I Had No Idea
The first time I ever heard the time "coronavirus" was through a snapchat story back in December. This snapchat story showed a very drunk friend stumbling their way through the city. The caption of the video said "help her she has coronavirus." I literally thought this was a new slang for being drunk or wasted. Like if Becky were to get too drunk at the party, oh noooo Becky has coronavirus, watch out! Looking back, I now see how insensitive this caption was, but neither did they know how this would become a global pandemic. The second time I heard the term was on January 15 when we had received the first case of coronavirus in the US, in Washington state. First, I was confused because I thought it was slang for being drunk. Second, I wasn't panicked at all. It's one case, it doesn't seem serious, and how could it get all the way to Atlanta? The third time I heard the term coronavirus was when I was shooting a commercial in February. One of the "suits" had to leave set because he was receiving phone calls regarding a false rumor that the coronavirus had spread to a hospital near the set. This caused the wheels to turn in my head: Why would false rumors spread about this? And why would he receive so many panicked phone calls that caused him to actually leave the set to calm this matter? This must be serious... but nonetheless, we all carried on with our normal lives. Who knew that less than a month later, we would follow a nationwide order to quarantine, and in less than two months there would be 186,101 confirmed cases throughout the United States.
The Days Before
The spread of coronavirus was starting to pick up around the country but I took most of it as false information due to panic on social media. My mom and dad were going to be driving down the east coast to spend about two weeks in Florida, visiting my brother and sister-in-law. Late February, I get a call from my mom asking if I would like to visit them in Florida and soak up some sunshine. Uh, duh. I booked a flight to join them for the second-half of their trip. A few days later, I get a text from my mom to buy hand sanitizer and clorox wipes. Something like: "Once you get on the plane, wipe everything down and apply hand sanitizer every chance you can."
Honestly, I thought she was overreacting, I really didn't know the sincerity of it. Then, she sent me a picture of her at Costco. The entire parking lot was full, people even parked up on the curb into the grass. There was a line circling the interior of the Costco four times, just to checkout. The panic had started and people were stocking food, toilet paper, and other household necessities. I believe I said, "Wow, that's crazy." But, still, I continued on with my day.
A few days later, Wednesday, I get a text from my mom letting me know that her and my dad will be driving through Atlanta, Friday, on their way down to Florida and they'll visit me for the night. She suggested I come down on the first half of my trip instead to join them on their drive down. After moving some things around, I thought heck yeah Florida 5 days sooner? Here I come. I had two auditions to do and as I went to schedule them at my studio on Wednesday, every single slot was full for two days. This was odd. After much refreshing, a slot soon opened up and I was able to fit in only one audition. I was okay with it because I'd catch a flight back home in 5 days and the audition wasn't due for a few weeks. But later on Thursday, things starting shutting down. As I got to the studio on Friday, I asked the owner, "So do you think the studio will shut down?" He said "If we are forced to shut it down, yes, but I don't think that will happen." On Saturday, the studio shut down indefinitely.
I met my parents that Friday night after my audition and we went out for dinner. We went to this wonderful small Italian restaurant. A place highly recommended by locals and normally buzzing with business. For the duration we ate there, we were the only customers (plus one man at the bar). Things starting feeling quite eerie.
Saturday, on the way down to Florida, my mom asked me if I wanted to stay in Florida with them and come back up to Virginia.
Come back to Virginia, why?
I figured you might want to be home to quarantine with us rather than being stuck alone in your small apartment.
By the time we were in Florida (10 days), the town went from 100% occupancy to 7%. Beaches shut down. Small businesses shut down. Beach department stores shut down. On the 15-hour drive back up to Virginia, we didn't hit traffic once.
We Were Prepared
This thing came by storm and took us all by surprise. Although there were warning signs throughout the months, it didn't hit us until it hit us. But there is one thing I know for certain: God knew this was going to happen. God wasn't surprised by this, not one bit. And in odd ways, he prepared every single one of us for this pandemic. Whether that was like me, being invited to go down to Florida early with my parents: be able to get an audition in before the studio shut down: get out of Atlanta before it really broke out: and dismiss all my flights. Or maybe you just got a paycheck in the mail. Maybe you just closed the settlement on your house. Or perhaps you stocked up for a year's worth of toilet paper days prior for no reason. Look back on your days before and see the small things that happened that allowed you to stay safe, to stay healthy, maybe even to stay financially stable. By focusing on these things, it will allow you to stay positive and hopeful in these times. Realize the blessings around you that happened from a God who knew this would affect you and is protecting you in thousands of different ways. We will always remember where we heard the news, but I ask you now to remember, also, the blessings.
A New Mindset
I believe this pandemic is reminding us how the future truly isn't in our hands. "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:16) And no matter how much we try, we truly never know what's going to happen. I thank God for the mindset the pandemic has instilled in us. A mindset to change into a lifestyle of living in the moment, soaking up the now, because no future day is ever promised. A mindset to prepare for what we prayed for, knowing God will bless us in ways we never imagined to stay safe from the storm.
Continue praying, continue preparing, but never assume the future will be handed to you. Look for the ways God has prepared you to deal with this pandemic and thank Him for every breath, because now we are reminded, it really is a gift.