The “curve” of the coronavirus is defined as the rise of the daily number of identified coronavirus cases. Flattening that curve means that society as a whole is working together to reduce that rising number of infections by any and all means possible. Flattening the curve can work in two separate and measurable ways. Flattening the curve means to reduce the number of overall cases during the ongoing pandemic. Flattening the curve also means during the peak of this medical catastrophe, hospitals will hopefully be able to attend to every patient in need, rather than having to make life and death choices because medical resources are tapped out. How many of us tune out and hear Charlie Brown’s teacher in the background about now?
But what does “Flattening the Curve” mean to you and me? Well, for one – it means you get to have power during this pandemic. Rather than feeling like a victim trapped inside your house of homeschool Hades on steroids – you get to actively feel as though you are doing something to assist your neighbor, your country and basically the world. Yes – YOU – get to be a world influencer! By staying home, reducing your movements practicing wisdom, self-restraint and social distancing YOU are impacting the world in a positive way.
John Passaro said, “I drop kindness pebbles in still water every day, and I watch the effect they have on other people’s lives.” The ripple effects of that choice to #socialdistance won’t be felt immediately, but it will be shown in the numbers of diagnosed cases over time. People – THAT IS HUGE! You are teaching your children, your family members, your neighbors and your circle of influence that self-control and restraint have positive impacts on the world around them. That the smallest of choices can have a global impact. You are being a living example of how loving your neighbor more than yourself sometimes means saying no to what you want and yes to the greater good. You are taking back some of the power that feels lost in a time when it seems like there is nothing we can do. Yes, you can do something!
Staying home and choosing to be socially distant may feel like inactivity, but it is a very active decision that must be chosen from day to day, sometimes moment to moment. We choose to say no to that playdate, that “not totally necessary but I need to get out of this house or I will go crazy” shopping trip, that drive-by meet you at the park coffee date with a friend, the "it's a beautiful day lets go to the beach" trip – that is action in motion that has a global consequence. Those choices also provide a very tangible lesson to the eyes and ears that are watching and listening to us every minute of every day. Keep teaching by your life – that you can exercise self-disciple and restraint and stay home.
What else does “flattening the curve mean?” On a very personal level, it means I can see my grandchildren again. Just as this pandemic was erupting, I was diagnosed with pneumonia – again. I had pneumonia from November 22, 2019 until February 28, 2020. Yes – look at those dates again. On March 9, I went to the doctor for what I thought was allergies and walked away stunned with the diagnosis that double pneumonia had returned. Suddenly I was one of the “most vulnerable” in society. My doctor told me to go home and stay there – not to leave the house unless it was a medical emergency. To see no one, unless they too had been quarantined for 14 days and could somehow, magically guarantee they weren’t carrying any COVID-19 germs. My doctor told me if I contracted coronavirus at this time, the likelihood was great that it would kill me.
Me, a mother of five, a grandmother of 7, a caretaker of my 93-year-old Mamaw – that a virus I could normally withstand would wipe out my physical defenses and potentially my life. Suddenly, social distancing became very real to me. “Flattening the curve” means that the grandchildren who live within miles of me, will actually be able to visit the house and have sleep overs again. It also means that the 93-year-old grandmother who lives with me, and is living in isolation with me, won’t be at risk anymore either – because she, too, is one of the most vulnerable.
Flattening the curve also means my husband, who is required to work because he is “essential” will not have to stress that he has carried something home to us. He will be able to walk into the house and say hello, rather than stripping in the garage, spraying his shoes with Lysol, rushing straight to the shower, and dumping his work clothes straight into the washing machine. He does this because he has stated, more than once, he would never be able to live with himself if we contracted the virus from him. Flattening the curve also means our two deployed loved ones – our son and son-in-law – can come home to their wives and children. One has one-year old twin boys he hasn’t seen in 6 months (and counting), and the other has an 18-month-old son and a brand-new baby daughter he has yet to meet. While we are a country at war against a pandemic, we are also a country that is still at war globally with military personnel deployed all over the globe – taking care of the mission abroad while their families do battle with an unseen enemy stateside. Flattening the curve means families can be reunited and those deployed can fulfill their rotation and come home.
Flattening the curve means the world to those in the medical profession, who are on the front lines of this battle – risking their lives on a daily basis to provide comfort and care to those in dire need. The time spent away from their families cannot be regained, and the risk to their lives – we can mitigate that with the choices we make together! Flattening the curve is an opportunity to cultivate self-discipline and maturity within a society that is often very “me” focused, and to shift that "me-mindset" to an “us” focus, because we are in this together. What others choose to do has a massive impact on the “us” overall.
You have power in this time of crisis – the power to choose wisely for yourself. But the choices you make now will have impact far beyond your imagination Like throwing a rock into still water, the ripples occur by the choices we make – now more than ever.
“You have been created
in order that you might make a difference.
You have within you the power to change the world.”
(Andy Andrews – The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters)