I’m sure I’m not the only one out there watching the news unfold hour after hour with increasing fear and anxiety. For our fellow fans in Italy and other areas heavily impacted by COVID19, please know the world is thinking of you and hoping for the best for you and your loved ones.
Most of our school districts here in California closed for at least the next four weeks, including my children’s. And with it goes a whole bunch of our ordinary life: youth sports, museum outings, Spring Break plans, birthday parties, etc. Walking the streets of my city is like an eerie post-apocalyptic movie. It’s very difficult not to feel despairing and afraid.
So what’s a mom stuck at home with two small children to do? Well, blog obviously. There’s only so much Paw Patrol one can watch (but it’s admittedly better than the news).
It’s easy to feel helpless when the world seems to be spinning out of control. But the hope I cling to is this: we’ve been here before. Not with this particular virus, of course, but in a “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ the world is getting really scary” sort of way. Previous generations have tackled similarly world-ending situations and pulled through them. And that’s not to say there won’t be fear and grief along the way, just that we are not first or alone in those feelings.
I don’t mean to trivialize the situation by bringing it back around to Outlander, but this is an Outlander fan blog so I’m trying to derive lessons where I can. And we have no two better role models on how to survive rough times than in our own Jamie and Claire. What would Jamie and Claire do? After reading and watching these characters so thoroughly over these many years the answers are clear: they would put community before self, listen to those who are knowledgeable in their fields, and set an example for those around them.
These are fictional characters, of course, and we are living through a very non-fictional pandemic. But these two characters are ideals and heroes for a multitude of reasons, so why not strive to be more heroic ourselves? We aren’t sacrificing our lives in the name of an independent Scotland, but we can sacrifice some of our normal life to keep everyone around us healthy. We aren’t stranded aboard an eighteenth century ship fighting typhoid fever, but we can wash our hands and do our best to disinfect our world. We aren’t accidentally having our medical advice published in a Colonial North Carolina paper, but we can pass on information that comes from the CDC and other experts in lieu of listening to anecdotal or false advice.
I have one remaining grandparent and she turns 95 this year. Born only seven years after Claire, she is a woman who lived through the Great Depression and Second World War. And the lesson we can learn from her generation, a generation that surely felt the world was ending more than once, is this: we have to be in this together. We have to put community before self. We have to listen to those who are experts. We have to take care of the most vulnerable people in our society. It’s what the Greatest Generation- Claire’s generation- did when it was their turn to save the world.
I phoned my grandmother yesterday to cheer her up. She was supposed to have visitors this weekend but those plans have been cancelled in order to preserve her health. I talked to her a bit about what’s happening in the world and her comment on it was this: “It’s just a temporary setback and life is full of those.” And, again, this is not to trivialize the severity of COVID19 and the grief it has brought and will continue to bring, but to know that humanity can step in to do the right thing when necessary. We’ve done it before.
Like a time-traveling twentieth century surgeon or an eighteenth century laird, we can save the lives of those around us. Wash our hands. Stay home as much as possible. Practice social distancing. Check in and take care of our most vulnerable citizens. We can all be heroes, no fiction necessary.