I sat across the table from my mama out on her front deck last week. The wind ruffled her hair. “We need to take this virus seriously. People are going to die,” she said quietly. “And it could very well be people that we love very much.”

Her soft spoken words hit me like a freight train. She has lived through every major epidemic we have had in the past eight decades. From polio to measles. And she understood the implications of not doing what it takes to stem the tide of a disease that we don’t have a vaccine for yet.

We are at day 10. Our government has asked that everyone practice 15 days of distancing and this is day 10. We may have to practice yet ten more days of it. Who knows?

If you are like me when you heard that the COVID-19 virus was in Washington state you wondered what that had to do with Pontotoc, Mississippi, right? We are thousands of miles away how can we ever in this world be affected. That was January.

As this has moved rapidly across this great land of ours it has hit the east coast in less than three months. That’s faster than someone could travel by mule an wagon in yonder years.

Even four weeks ago my attitude was just wash your hands and keep your distance. I was living in Polyanna’s world. 

My dear editor David Helms began to plant my feet on the ground. “We need to take this very serious and do the things that are recommended,” he said two weeks ago. “We need to keep our distance and keep our hands washed more than usual.”

That was even before the government released the 15 days to slow the virus recommendations Monday, March 16. The seriousness of this virus has come home to Pontotoc. Literally. We got our first positive case Sunday.

And it was on that day that I listened to my dear pastor, Bro. Mike Smithey deliver his message via Facebook. He pointed out that distancing yourself from a disease has been a part of humankind for a long time. “The children of Israel had to put lepers in a place by themselves. They couldn’t be inside the camp.” Leprosy is a highly contagious disease just like this one that we are fighting now. It kills people slowly, this one acts quickly if no action is taken.

So we shouldn’t be complaining too much when we are asked to distance, wash and keep our selves apart for awhile. It is not just for your sake. It is for the sake of your grandmother or granddaddy or aunt or uncle. Young people are getting this disease and fighting for their lives too, those with NO underlying physical complications.

And if you are still shrugging your shoulders at this I want you to take a moment and hold your breath. Hold it for as long as you can. Now when you draw in that fresh rush of air into your lungs, imagine not being able to do that. That is the end of this disease. Those who get it can’t bring in that breath, they struggle, they fight, but it does not come, their lungs shut down.

If we ALL do our part, we will get through this much faster. A month down the road this could be a distant memory. Please don’t be the carrier to someone whose life may depend on your obedience.

If you want something to do, Pray. Every hour on the hour in this country people all across this nation are pausing for a moment to pray for this COVID-19 disease. Be a part of that prayer chain. Send your incense to heaven and petition our All Mighty God of heaven on behalf of not just the United States, but the entire world. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Love your kids. Minister where you can. Most of all, obey the rules.

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