The Tie that Binds

I am weary.  Weary in mind, body and spirit.

As President Trump announced a national emergency due to the coronavirus, COVID-19, many jumped to the occasion to debate whether the real national emergency started in 2016. (Full disclosure: I voted 3rd party in 2016. I am a moderate independent.) While I do not like this president and much of his administration, the national emergency began  for me a decade ago along with many other Americans. I don’t say this to make light of the current national emergency because the coronavirus is a serious, life-threatening illness.

But here is my point…

2010 began for me still looking for a job after losing my career as a vice president of a financial services company in late summer of 2009. Over-qualified? Too expensive? Too old? Under educated? I don’t know. I persevered with starting my own contracting business to finally in July 2016 finding full-time employment only to have that employer exist a related industry in April of 2018. In May, I was grateful to be hired as a temporary employee earning just over what I was earning at the start of my career over 30 years ago. I was hired as a permanent full-time employee in January 2019. I love my new employer. I often reflect on how I wished I could have started my career with this employer than the ones I climbed the ladder earning that vice president’s title.

On Thursday, March 12th, I met with my manager for my 2019 annual review. I earned a promotion. Though I am still earning about a third of my income in 2009, I was as excited as though it was my first promotion ever. Then Friday, March 13th came with the announcement by President Trump of a national emergency. I am not worried about my job, but for the others who are still living with uncertainty. (Sidebar: Yes, there are still families who have not yet recovered – not everyone benefited from the tax relief measure last year, or the once booming stock market. A 401(k), if one is lucky enough to have one, doesn’t pay the monthly bills for those too young or who cannot yet afford to retire.)

Sorry, let me continue my point…

Today, my husband returned from the grocery store with about half of the items purchased from the grocery list because of consumers panicking about the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media sharing information both the facts and the far-fetched. Who to believe? No wonder there is panic. There are some who question the validity of the national emergency to others who are holed up in self-quarantine. Listen to the CDC, people!

The last several days, and in particular, reminded me of the summer of 2009 and the prevailing months into 2010 and beyond. I am worried we have not learned anything in the last ten years. In fact, I am worried that we have regressed even further down the abyss of negativity and whose fault it is for our current predicament. Can we just get beyond this nonsense? For the love of scotch!

Could the COVID-19 National Emergency perhaps heal America?

The fatigue I feel is not from any physical illness. It the fatigue of the last decade that may have left me just a bit delirious to think that maybe, just maybe this national emergency could have positive impact on how we treat each other. Have we learned anything from the last national emergency?

The ties that bind us.

In 1782, theologian, John Fawcett penned the Christian hymn, “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.”  The tie that binds is a shared belief that links people together. A further meaning of the phrase is that a link that binds us together is stronger than what separates us.

Here in the United States what binds each one of us together is the love of country, love of freedom, love of the immigrant’s dream of the promise that the United States holds, and the love of service and community. Not everyone may agree on the love of guns or the truth in my opinion, that diversity, all diversity, makes us richer not poorer. Still, I believe there are more “love” ties that bind us together in America that are stronger than on those fraying ties that some still cling to. (Perhaps I am more tired than I thought.)

Journalist, Matthew Dowd tweeted the other day:

Matthew DowdThose 5 things were the same 5 things I clung to this past decade, but I would add one more thing, prayer – a whole lot of prayer. I have shared Mr. Dowd’s tweet on my social media and will continue to do so, if only to remind myself in the days and months ahead.

Even at my age, it is becoming more difficult to remember a time when Americans rallied together as proof to the world that we are the best we can be bound by the same values and the presumptive leader to all who desire to be best – the best at taking care of those who live in the United States, those who yearn to become American citizens, and those who want to be the best wherever God has planted them to bloom on this earth.

Yet, here we are in another national emergency continuing down this path of arguing with each other on how we got to this point in the coronavirus crisis to who can win in November including posting stupid memes about toilet paper.

This is precisely why I miss Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. Pete, who could be my son, taught me a lesson of inclusivity and civility in communicating with people who disagree with me. He taught me not only to extend an ear to listen, but an invitation to agree on things we can agree on and to respectively agree to disagree on those things we cannot. Shake hands (well, not now anyway) but to part as friends and as fellow Americans. Even the young can teach an old owl a thing or two and that is why his presidential campaign is the only one I have ever donated to in my entire voting life.

I will say it again. I miss Pete and Chasten. I am grateful for what they taught those who cared to stop and listen.

I am a Christian, but I think even non-believers can appreciate Romans 12:7-10, 14-18. (GW) during these uncertain times.

If your gift is serving, then devote yourself to serving. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching.  If it is encouraging others, devote yourself to giving encouragement. If it is shared, be generous. If it is leadership, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping people in need, help them cheerfully.

 Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good.  Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other Bless those who persecute you. Bless them, and don’t curse them.  Be happy with those who are happy. Be sad with those who are sad. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be arrogant but be friendly to humble people. Don’t think that you are smarter than you really are.

Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Focus your thoughts on those things that are considered noble.  As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone.

I vow to live by Mr. Dowd’s points listed above and to honor this biblical passage, as well as, hold onto the love ties that bind us together here in America rather than our disagreements.

Are you tired too? Will you join me in doing the same? Because I really need some sleep.


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