Opening the squeaky green screen door to the old porch, I’m expecting a jolt of frigid air, but instead I’m met with the sound of palm trees gently blowing in the warm breeze. Yes, spring is here, and judging by yesterday, it may be an early summer.
Speaking of palm trees, this week is Spring Break, and our plans to escape to a hidden tropical paradise have been replaced by a staycation. It’s just not worth the risk of infecting or being infected. So, to give my lovely bride the week off she hoped for, the kids and I have agreed to cook all the meals for the week. And since we’re staying put, we have time.
This week I’ve been pondering what I might say today in light of what our world, and our country, are facing. It’s not an easy task, because ignoring the situation and pretending it does not exist would not be prudent. On the other hand, overreaction and panic aren’t very pleasing either.
I have to say that I’m highly disturbed by the irresponsibility of the media, and their bloodthirsty taste for ratings. They are so driven to drive ratings and ad dollars that they don’t realize they have pushed the country into overreaction, where hoarding is taking place so others cannot get essentials, and they are placing millions of jobs at risk because of this overreaction. I’m a little ashamed of them at the moment. They have us on the edge of our seats, as if our very survival depends on their next report. It sickens me.
I’m also concerned about the lack of civility among some people during this crisis. Panic is simply not necessary.
We never really know how we’re going to react to a situation until we face it.
The Higher Road
Laurie and I learned that recently during the cardiac arrest of our son Brady, who almost did not survive. In spite of our tears, our fear, our panic, our need for answers, we both surprised ourselves with how cool and collected we managed to be in spite of it being the worst day of our lives as parents. Though we were jolted into it in a moment, we managed to stay civilized, cordial, grateful, and appreciative to others even though we wanted to scream. That showed volumes to our other kids, who looked to us for how to respond. We’re being responsible and not panicking in this situation as well.
When I was a child, I was terribly afraid of tornadoes. They came almost instantly, with no warning, and would devastate a community within minutes. As an adult I always said I’d rather live in a hurricane zone, because they could have three or more days’ notice.
A Word We Never Thought We Would Speak
Now you and I are faced with a pandemic — words we never believed we would be uttering in our lifetime. Something we believed happened in the old days, when medicine was less sophisticated. Yet this is a hurricane, not a tornado. In other words, we know it’s coming, we know it could be horrific, but we have some time to prepare ourselves. Time to prepare is a silver lining in this dark cloud.
Silver Lining to a Dark Cloud
I’m no expert, but I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on, and the most important action we can take to prevent the spread is voluntary isolation from others. That means avoiding places where you could spread a virus you don’t know you have, and avoiding coming into contact with it yourself. I’ve spoken to friends in Italy, and they reinforce that need for dramatic action. It turns out that many are loving the time with family, the time to reconnect, and a chance to be home. Again, a silver lining. But gatherings of any size at this moment are simply irresponsible. We don’t have a clue who is a carrier. You or I could be and would not know it.
While others are screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater, my goal is to be a voice of reason, to let you know that everything is going to be OK. Though there will be some difficult moments, the actions to reduce the spread are actions that may get us on the other side of this nightmare sooner.
You Are Strong
I want you to know that you are strong and that you can step up and handle things that you never believed you could handle. There will be a day, probably in the not-too-distant future, in which this pandemic will be over, and we’ll look back knowing we made it through. It’s important to keep our eyes on that day, because the worst days could feel pretty grim.
Drinking Battery Acid
Keep in mind that fear and panic are the enemies of your fellow man, and of your own health. My health coach tells me the immune system is damaged by fear, panic, and stress. The best way to keep your immune system strong is to keep stress at a minimum, get lots of exercise, eat well, take your supplements (according to him, large doses of C and D3 are important in this case), drink lots of water, and keep your attitude in check. Try to keep a smile on your face — it changes your physiology. And worry serves no purpose. In fact, worry is like drinking battery acid: It’s toxic to your health.
Instead of freaking out when there are announcements of actions being taken, I’m embracing these actions. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner we shut everything down and isolate us all from one another, the sooner we’ll see the sun again.
Meanwhile, I’m making some welcome changes in my lifestyle. Though I go to the gym daily, I’m now avoiding it. Instead of a treadmill, I’m taking walks. Instead of lifting weights, I’ve decided to use some of this time to lift some heavy boxes in the garage to the trash. And instead of risking exposure at a yoga studio, I’m watching yoga on YouTube and doing it with our two dogs. It’s important to keep exercising to ward off disease.
I refuse to panic. I’m probably the only American who didn’t stock up on toilet paper. I refuse to be the guy who keeps others from getting the reasonable amount they need. I refuse to be selfish.
My friend C.W. Mundy sent this to me today, and it really says it all, whether or not you consider yourself a spiritual or religious person. The message is powerful:
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope: where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
“Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
— St. Francis of Assisi
What to Do When You’re Down
As a result of this virus I’ve caught myself “down” and “worried” a couple of times, but then I remind myself that these feelings can only make everything worse. In the past I’ve discussed the critical role attitude plays and how science has confirmed that attitude impacts your cells. So when you slip into those moments of angst, no matter what’s happening, just remember you’ve had difficult moments in the past and you will get through this. No matter what happens.
I don’t want to make light of this event. It’s difficult for all of us. I’ve had to cancel a business event we had planned for next week, which hurts my business financially. And, because most of my business is based on events and travel, I have no idea what my future looks like. But fear, panic, and stress won’t allow me to make clear decisions, so I’m working hard to avoid stress. I highly recommend you avoid it too. Sometimes we have to accept that things are out of our control.
Don’t Be Controlled
Remember that you have a choice about how you react or respond. The news media loves us in a panic so we’ll “tune in” every other moment to feed our fear. It’s great for their ratings and advertising incomes. Sadly, it’s not great for us. Though some will argue we need to be informed and take notice (true), we can do that without the drama and panic. Keep those stress levels under control. Why die of a heart attack or stroke while you’re stressing about how not to die from coronavirus?
Let’s all make the best out of a bad situation. Seek out the silver linings, and have confidence that you are doing all you can do to prevent exposure or infecting others. I’ll not go into the science because you can read it in a thousand places.
Oh, and one more thing.
Say It Now
I was due to be in China this week (I just returned from Russia last week), and one of the watercolor masters I was going to meet with has passed away from the virus. There is a strong chance that you’ll know people who will also pass away, so there is no better time than now to reinforce your love for those in your life. Hope for the best, but don’t look back wishing you had done more, or said what needed to be said.
People will tell you the sky is falling, the world is ending, the economy is crashing — and the signs we’re seeing would lead anyone to believe it. Don’t take the bait. Don’t feed the panic machine. Remember to use calm, sound judgment, and clear thought. This will allow you to deal with anything.
Be There for Them
And don’t forget that this may be harder on others than it is on you. School closings mean moms or dads who work in hospitals won’t be able to work. Hospital workers in Italy are exhausted after weeks of going without sleep in order to save lives. Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost overnight because events or flights are cancelled. It’s not all about me, it’s not all about you. It’s about our community, our friends, our country, our world. We’re all in this together. People need you to listen, to console, to understand, and to love.
We are defined by moments like this, both as individuals and as nations. Who do you choose to be?
PS: Sunday Coffee is read by over a quarter million people every week because you have generously shared it with people you love. I want to thank you. When we’re in a media-centered world that drives fear, my goal is to be a contrarian, to let others know there is another way, a reasonable, responsible response to life.
I agree with Christine. It is not the news media that is causing the overreaction, but the people themselves. People who do not really know what is going on because of confusion emanating from various sources. Yes, some of the media is ambivalent and hyperbolic, but considering their main source of information theirs is diminutive. It is so easy to assign culpability in this era that the term “The buck stops here” has lost its defining power. Perhaps it be regained in the future.
I certainly appreciate your article even though I disagreed with a few points and the advertisement (Make more Money Selling Your Art) at the end. I am not blaming you on that because I am sure that it is automatically part of the format that you write on. Thank you for Sunday Coffee.
Thank you for your thought provoking blogs, but as I reflect on the media I have engaged with, I have to disagree with your contention that media is a problem. I have found that what I watch is calm, thoughtful, and informative so that I can make thoughtful and considerate decisions that work positively for me and people that I don’t know.
Holding our leaders to account for very poor decisions is not sensationalism, but a call for all of us to do better to take care of others as we would take care of ourselves.
I agree with Carol about the most important issue in life..that is to get right with God and avoid damnation before you die. Look to Jesus the only Way and ask Him into your heart… In the meantime relax and paint..that’s what I’m doing. If you ask Jesus to take care of you, fear will disappear. 1. Confess that you are a sinner,2. repent your sins, and 3 believe and ask Jesus into your heart. George Washington believed and who is any better an example of a moral and truthful person? Stay painting and enjoy Salvation… and avoid
Staying home and practicing social distancing is not about individuals versus the coronavirus.
It’s about PROTECTING OUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS who are about to be hit with a tsunami they are barely equipped to deal with. Because of their selfless work, these are the very people most likely to be exposed. Look at what is happening in Italy to their medical system.
By staying home, we avoid passing the contagion around. Our health care industry can deal with a smaller number of cases over a longer period of time, instead of all at once, as in Italy.
Eric, you recently wrote a moving piece about your son’s life being saved by the incredible efforts of our medical profession. Now it’s our turn to save our health care workers from the overwhelming storm that is coming our way.
I’m taking this time to work in my studio….not just at the easel….but organizing, sorting and priming canvases….things I have put off til now. I have brushes that need cleaning and that is my main goal right now. I have set aside older brushes to clean at a later date…and…the DATE is here. How many? over 200. Yes, I’m a procrastinator.
I have plenty of references on hand…in a four-drawer file cabinet. I’ll take some time to go through folders and eliminate some of them since I’ve been ‘collecting’ since high school. I am now 75. Wish me luck and a speedy end of project.
I enjoy, tremendously, the newsletter….especially now that we are house-bound for the most part.
Yay Eric I’m glad your home safe n sound. Love your thoughts about family time and what this might mean to so many of our neighbors family and friends…I’m going painting ;D Plein Air equals fresh air…breath it in…don’t sweat or emulate the madness we are seeing find that gorgeous tree structure or that new bird nest being built…Have fun! See ya In Colorado in May ;D
🦗 Do I hear crickets? Silence is a privilege. You have the potential to do more good. Start a fundraiser…
well said -thank you for taking the time to write such calming and sensible advice, and the scripture that reinforces our faith. God is in charge, Blessings, Mary
The media have much to be proud of and much to be ashamed of in their role in modern life. They have only their own moral compasses to follow when it comes to how to deal with a story. Neither of our countries applies state-run censorship. It’s up to individual reporters, editors and media owners to determine if they will take a greater good into account with their approach to a story or to rain hell upon the world through sensationalism.
I’m very glad to see you have taken a measured, thoughtful response to the crisis. If the reaction of so much of the media and other organizations were to be taken at face value, we are on the brink of the Zombie Apocalypse.
Hopefully, we are near the peak of the infection’s bell curve and it will start to tail off. The greatest danger from this pandemic is not the death toll, the flu will still kill far more people this year. The danger is what panic will have done to the world economy. While the death of a few thousand people worldwide is individually tragic, as are all deaths. It’s what the panic is doing to the world economy which will bring on real suffering if this lasts too long.
I look forward to seeing you again this spring. Nothing other than the border being closed or the event cancellation will keep me from your event. Keep up the great work.
I am very upset at this morning coffee. I personally don’t think the press is unnecessarily working people into a frenzy. Following China’s and Italy’s disastrous situation, it is only responsible to urge people to use caution and avoid public places. I am very afraid and saddened Eric that your article reflects more your fears that a large gathering such as the Plein Air Convention is totally unsafe considering the current pandemic than an accurate assessment of the risks. I think the situation in this country is going to get much worse before it gets better, in great part because our president wasted weeks claiming this was under control when it wasn’t. It is very difficult right now to estimate how many people are infected because so many may not show symptoms. Which is exactly why this very contagious virus is so dangerous!
You are a prime example of what not to do. 1) Why do some people have to insert politics into every conversation? 2) While you have the right to have your own opinion and experiences, I know I am not alone in saying, I don’t want to hear it! 3) So much for concentrating on staying calm and controlling your own thoughts and actions. 4) You, and people like you, have the need to blame everything on others first rather than accepting responsibility for yourself and looking for what you can do to help rather than making it worse. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The world is changing whether we like it or not. To survive, we need to go to plan B, C, and even D and not give up. I assume you are a painter if you were interested in opening the email.? Put your energy into your artwork or other interests making a positive change, help others in need, and revert your hate and thoughts to healthy living and making this world a better place! Life was not fair for me either, but I’m dealing with it! I know “This too will pass”, it could be worse! I am so grateful for everything that has gone right, for what I have already, and the people that have come into my life, like Eric, that shares his inspiration to make me want to do better. Thank you Eric! I did not realize that when I opened your email and expected painting tips, that it would be so thought provoking and give so much insight as to how we look at things. (Words as well as color, light, and shadows!)
So well said Eric. Thank you I am reading this belated but so happy I did. You made my day!
Reading your article is the best thing happening starts of the day. Reading your article in this coronavirus time is the most comfortable happening whole of the day! Thank you and thank you! Keep it on, the world need people like you to give us peace and life!
I admire you greatly and though I honestly do not remember how I first learned of you I am so glad I did.
That’s two of us that didn’t buy out the store of toilet tissue……..Thank you for a voice of reason and calm……..and may I say “common sense”.
I hope you are doing well. We’ve never spoken before, but you’ve had a tremendous impact on my life. I am the wife of one of your previous full-time independent contractors who you fired just over two years ago, eleven days after our first child was born. I was prepared for the Coronavirus outbreak, because in all reality, losing our primary source of income at that vulnerable time was much scarier. We experienced many hardships following your decision, but we made it through. We survived by creatively access our personal resources. It took two years, but we are now thriving. Your blog post was reflective of your privilege and unconsciousness regarding how your choices impact others. You’re not alone. Your blog post was a mirror into my own unconscious privilege. I used to believe it was better not to say anything than say something offensive, and I’ve been wanting to say something to you for a long time. Now I realize silence hurts more than speaking up. I forgive you for your silence in January of 2018 and would like to thank you for sharing your perspective today. Overall, I agreed with the comments you made, but I also wanted to direct your attention to what you overlooked. Your magazine will be much more likely to thrive if the people who work for you feel safe and respected. It would be worthwhile for you to offer salary and health benefits to your employees. In the meantime, use your influence to organize fundraisers. There are many painters in your network who would be more than happy to donate paintings raise money to those who need it. Please be aware that those who are less privileged have to risk their lives during this time while we have the privilege of staying safe at home. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Eric, It’s wonderful to read all the comments that are telling you how much your words mean to them. I’ve never known anyone that is so helpful to so many people before. Stay healthy so you can continue your good work.
Well said, good job Eric. Fresh air is the best medicine for a good walk, and provides little chance of danger. Fear and panic are the biggest danger. The majority of us and our friends and neighbors are not infected and will not be as long as we are sensible and follow recommendations to minimize contracting infection. Stay safe, stay positive, reach out to those who need a hand and know that God watches over us if we only believe.
Thank you Eric for your message.My name is Nelly and I am living in Sicily (Italy). My daughter is living in a little town near Milan. She spent the last two weeks alone at home as she results positive to the test and has a lot of caught and fever. Friday night she had problems on breathing so she went to the hospital. Doctors procured her oxygen and she remained there until last night. Now she is at home, alone again, for the next 10 days. It was very difficult for me thinking that she was very ill, alone, afraid for her own life. We spent many hours daily speaking by phone in order to make her feeling me near her heart although we staid at 1200km. Never the less, we refused to panic and I asked her many times to think positive. And now I understand how heavy these two weeks have been and how afraid I have been in front of the fact that she could pass away, and I understand how all this virus reinforces my love.
We afford many restrictions in Italy and I imagine that this will occur in United States very soon. Please, respect these restrictions. They are absolutely necessary for you, for your family, for your friends, for your nation. Take care!
You have such a wonderful attitude! Stay safe!
Thank you, Eric for a lovely, inspiring message. I especially liked The Rant. God bless you.
The Pandemic will not define us- but it might define some interesting artwork. Some of us artists in the NW “Epicenter” are practicing “social distancing”, but doing challenges on Facebook to keep engaged with Art and each other. I think our 6 week “quarantine” is a great opportunity to focus on Faith (in spite of no Church services!), our Body through Healthy Living- you can still go on walks and work in the garden, and our Minds by engaging in research and our Artwork. Stay safe out there- and watch out for your neighbors. Anne
Thanks, Eric! Thanks for this level-headed, practical information re: the Coronavirus Pandemic! This is exactly how my husband, friends & family see the situation, and we’re responding accordingly!
I enjoy your Sunday Blogs and foward them to my husband & two sons! Many times, it’s just the encouragement we needed.
God Bless You!
Linda S. McRay
I believe at this point, the media can not possibly overreact. And many people’s survival does depend on knowing what is going on. I feel it is incredibly irresponsible to downplay this in any way. Italy did and now look at what is happening there. They thought they had it under control and were following best practices. This virus spreads easily and fast. People that are not showing or won’t show symptoms can infect others. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better and the wise thing to do is to be informed.
I couldn’t agree more, Susan Powers. The panic is from not being well informed and the only source of pertinent information has been from Dr. Anthony Fauci from the CDC. His levelheaded leadership and reminder that it will definitely get worse before better is what will make the difference. My spouse is a medical doctor and can attest to the confusion and lack of preparedness by the federal government. While the latest measures being put into place are going to create short term hardships, the alternative could be catastrophic. Blaming the bearer of bad news is never the proper attitude.
Thank you Susan. Well said and I agree 100%. I for one am glad we have news organizations that keep us informed. We need them at this time. Seems some people think that this information is overreacting and they don’t want to hear it. There are people who want things to go on as usual. My feelings are that it is better to error on the side of caution instead of taking chances. Sorry for your hardship with a small baby but am glad things are going well for you now.
Thank you for you message and I am proud to say I am not a toilet paper hoarder either:)
I think your political leanings are showing. You certainly wouldn’t call the media hysterical if they were warning your beloved Texas or my state Florida of an impending Cat 5 hurricane 24/7? The media I watch has been very thorough in getting many experts on air to tell us about this impending disaster of Covid19. It will be a world-wide disaster and many millions will sicken and many elderly will die. Do the math! And thank whomever you want to thank that you and your family live in the United State where you will be able to get help if you need it, as happened for Brady, and not in an area where there “Social distancing” isn’t possible and there isn’t any medical help available.
Eric, I think your political learnings are showing in this coffee with Eric when you say that we should be politically neutral in our rankings. You certainly don’t think that the media is being hysterical when they warn Florida of a cat 5 hurricane for 3 to 5 days, 24-7, before it arrives. The media I listen to has been very thorough and responsible in getting the news out that this will probably be a world-wide disaster, with millions becoming very sick and many, many elderly dying. Do the math, it’s exponential this virus transmission. I’m with Russel Marino above, if you don’t want to be informed about an impending disaster, don’t watch TV.
If your company loses a lot of money as a result of this, don’t panic. You already have everything you need. But don’t forget that every choice you make and every statement you make will have strong influential ripple effects. Make the ripples positive by being kind to others and thinking about people other than yourself and your family. Have you thought about starting a fundraiser? Maybe you could raise money for health care professionals. Praying alone doesn’t seem like enough when you have the power to do so much good.
#sayitnow #iforgiveyou #viralkindness #itstimetoevolve
Thank you for the voice of reason from one who can touch so many people. I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said and appreciate your spreading the calming rhetoric.
Thank you so much for this note of calm assurance and even your chiding of those who love to spread panic.
I do hope people will listen to a thoughtful voice of reason.
However, I’m sad and surprised that, although you mentioned St. Francis’ quote, and I think you’re a Christian yourself, you didn’t mention the real assurance and peace we can have (no matter what) through a steadfast relationship with God through belief, repentance, and trust in Jesus, our ONLY real hope,
I’d like to lovingly share that Jesus (God with skin on – John 1:1-14) came as a man to live among us and teach us how to live, all the while doing miracles to convince us to believe, then bled and died and took our punishment (all of God’s wrath toward all our sins) upon Himself so we could be totally forgiven and live forever in the presence of God. Then He left the grave behind and appeared to at least 500 people. He headed back to heaven. And He’s coming back.
I hope you will spread this good news.
We never know how long our lives will last – or how they will end.
No you are not the only one in the country not hoarding toilet paper, though I think it’s social media that has more to do with spreading the fear of not having the basics.
So well thought out and written, Eric, you’ve given me personally a calm that’s not come in the last month! Thank you and God Bless you and yours,
Melinda in Alaska
This is the most sensible thing I’ve heard or read about our situation. I’m forwarding it to my friends (it should be read on every media) who are “spaced out”. Thank you, Eric, and best wishes.
Thank you for this post, Eric. Indeed, if the media would be more responsible we would not be so dang anxious. I hope that by this time next year, your events and travels will all be back in full swing. It’s so fortunate that we in art (including those of us ever so far from the limelight) have the community that you have created for us. I LOVE Plein Air magazine! Thank you for all you do.
Thank you so much for putting into words what so many of us are feeling. Common sense is the key. I think it is nice to be able to stay home and not have to get out of my pj’s if I don’t want to. Of course, I am of an age where that has been an option for several years. Yep, cancelled a trip to go to my granddaughter’s wedding. We will see them later this year. We’ve been through other crisis and yes, this too shall pass. And I totally agree that the media has instigated the panic.
Dear Eric, This message is one of your best and with the addition of CW’s quote eternal words of wisdom, a Sunday message I wish could be heard by the whole country. I always enjoy your perspective on family and art, the struggles and triumphs, yet rarely comment. Today, with a touched heart, I feel the need to reach out and thank you with deep appreciation, not just for this Sunday message but for all the weekly postings. Laura
What a wonderful ambassador you are for sanity. Too bad your Sunday Coffee is not read by more people. Funny, when you shut off the news and put it on a few days later they are still talking about the same things. Reminds me of a soap opera. Precautions are necessary and so is common sense. Copy and paste of Prayer to the Nation is below. Thanks for the time you take to write the Coffees.
George Washington’s “Prayer to the Nation” written in 1787.
“Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou will keep the United States in thy holy protection that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for the fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(Written in 1783, and sent to the Governors of all the States.)
I can’t even begin to tell you how much your Sunday posts have been helping me deal with not just the coronavirus but
the isolation many persons like myself face on a daily basis.
First, your story about your son and cardiac arrest has also been a story of my own life. I am not 72 years old. In 1960,
I was one of the 40 survivors of rubella encephalitis. The encephalitis led to me developing epilepsy. My second seizure
led to my first cardiac arrest. I am still alive because back then my family doctor knew that epilepsy could lead to cardiac
arrest so he trained my parents on how to do CPR. I have gone into cardiac arrest 11 more times since that time. Because
of people like you encouraging others to learn CPR,
I also developed lupus from the rubella virus. Viruses are one of the triggers for systemic lupus. Life has been rough
sometimes because of lupus but it is encouragement from people like you and my intense love of doing art and
playing the piano. that has given me a beautiful life.
Last week lupus took hold of me. I have to be on a high dose of prednisone to prevent another episode of
Gillian Barre Syndrome like I had last summer. This peripheral neuropathy happens with lupus. It is not just
the flu vaccine that leads to Guillian barre.
But prednisone also makes me very vulnerable to infections. Last week I was rushed to the ER with a high
fever. I had both pneumonia and a bladder and kidney infection. This hospital stay made me realize how
very fortunate we are in this country. It took six different antibiotics to get the infections cleared up and to
get my 103 fever down. I have been sponsoring children in Uganda through ChildFund International since
1995. My sponsorships of two very special children enabled them to have antibiotics and malaria medicines.
Without my help, they would have died. The first child I sponsored lost her twin brother because they did not
have a measles vaccine their much like they did not have a rubella vaccine yet when I had rubella. I do a lot
of advocacy for vaccines all the time.
Far too many people think they are dangerous. I just don’t think the
people who think all vaccines are dangerous all the time have ever set at a hospital bed with their young
daughter who was running 107 fever for 3 weeks like my parents had to do. And even sadder, parents
in Uganda and other countries that are as poor, watching their children die before they are even 5 years
old because they do not have simple medications that are so readily available here.
I really appreciate your post this morning, Eric. When I got out of the hospital I had to get groceries. I am
fortunate to live in a small town where the store will deliver groceries. Not this time though. When I called
the store and told them I have been hospitalized with pneumonia, the woman who does the deliveries just
yelled at me that she was not going to bring anything to me. Yesterday a friend explained to me that she
could not deliver groceries because of a policy that until it is 100 percent confirmed that anyone with a
lung infection does not have the coronavirus, grocery stores cannot deliver food to them. I am fortunate
in that I have a caregiver who comes to my home 2 times a week to help me. I was able to get the groceries
I desperately needed
I understand now that this was protection for everyone. I also would have understood even the woman
who does the delivery could not risk getting sick. What hurt so much was her just yelling at me. The same
yelling happened when I had to have medicines delivered from my pharmacy. With the pharmacy, I was
even told that “you disabled people are such a drain on us”.That hurt. I realized even if the yellers
did not realize-people who even more vulnerable to getting and possibly dying from the coronavirus
that I have feelings just like anyone else.
I have forgiven them-meaning the yellers-. But I have to admit that I lost a lot of the feeling of
safety I have had in my town. To be honest I am no longer afraid of the virus. I have the things I need to
keep myself well as possible and to make sure my wonderful caregiver is well. And I did not feel like I needed
to hoard toilet paper and cleaning supplies. I have sufficient.
But I am also realizing that material things are not enough to help me or anyone else through this
crisis. We really need each other. And we need to find ways to have contact with other real people
even at a distance. After reading your post this morning, I feel now like I have been sitting at a
table having a cup of coffee with you. I cannot even express how good that felt, Eric.
Right now I am still too sick to do much exercise, but I do know two things I can do. I
can paint the beautiful daffodils in the vase sitting on my kitchen table. And I can sit
at my piano and play some of my favorite Rachmaninoff music. And I can say thank you, Eric.
The cup of coffee was great.
Thank you so much for your post this morning, Eric.
Jo Ann Koepke
Hello Eric, I am an art teacher (and painter) in my home studio. I teach one on one. One of my 6 students has decided not to come until ‘further notice’ and the others are hanging in there with me.
I must say, yesterday I was writing a half-in-jest notice to put on my front door that would say Handwashing, etc. practiced here. However, once you cross this threshold you may not speak of the virus. Any slip-ups will require that you put .25 in
a jar created for this purpose. This includes me. (I may get rich from this) Here’s to life and art!
Thank you for your very thoughtful article. One has to take the high road, as you have done, and not fall into the media trap of fear, wishing to control us all. So, well done and continue.
Looking forward to your articles in the coming weeks and may all this be very short-lived indeed!
Thank you. Praying for us all.
I read Sunday Morning religiously, but rarely comment. I’ve dealt with this pandemic reasonably well without a great deal of worry. I am fortunate to have a remote home of Galveston Island now so social distancing is the norm for us. We spent yesterday fishing on the bay under warms winds and hazy skies. I didn’t sleep well last night and waking, reflecting I realize personal family issues were weighing on me. I could feel the heaviness in my chest. Thank you for once again resetting my thoughts, of the innumerable times your message has done that.
What Wise Words from a really wise man, like the French say Chapeau, with all my respect. I love Eric Rhoads, I love Fine Art Connoisseur, and I love C W Mundy who I purchased one of his paintings a couple of month ago from Vanessa Rothe at Vanessa Rothe Fine Art. Thank you Mr. Rhoads for your beautiful and encouraging words.
Thanks, Eric. We need to remain calm and level headed, and not be controlled by the media!
Well spoken, Eric. Thank you ! I went to the West Palm Beach airport last night and picked up my beautiful granddaughter. She is on her semester break and is spending the week with me. We have many events planned that will probably be canceled but we have paints, brushes and canvases so we will be fine.we also have the beach to stroll. I wouldn’t miss this for anything. Thanks for putting everything in perspective and I totally agree about the press. Don’t turn it on , don’t buy what they are selling and certainly don’t buy the products they are pushing.
Wise response in these troubled times.
Eric, this is a wonderful, a perfectly said, article. I am so dismayed by the media and people’s
reaction of panic and greediness. I was aghast at the mobs of people I saw buying up the shelves at the supermarket yesterday, I wondered if they realized they had ironically put themselves in a most dangerous situation. I’m so sad that so many don’t seem to be learning from this experience. Instead of buying and hoarding why aren’t we thinking about our part in this and how to use less rather than more?
Thank you for being a voice of sanity during a time of insanity.
Well written – appreciate these words! Like you we are not hoarding tp and cleaning essentials – we live a basic country life and will continue on – the panic mongers are doing all they can work every one up over this – and the word pandemic just means it is in more than one country. Guess what – the flu is pandemic every year.
anyway I look forward to your Sunday chats every week and muchly appreciated your calm, sensible words in this one.
This is the second article today that I read that blamed the media for the hysteria that has become part of this developing situation. I have yet to see any of the local or national news personalities emptying shelves by stocking up on Milk, Toilet Paper or Chicken. I live in the shadows of Tyson’s Headquarters. We have no shortage of Chicken here. 25% of the world’s population has no running water in their homes. Hand Sanitizer does not exist. We are blessed with an abundance of abundance. That includes newscasting, it is 24/7/365. But nobody is strapping any of us to a chair forcing us to watch any of it, it is your choice. Just as it is your choice as to how many rolls of toilet paper you wish to purchase. Italy has the number two Medical system in the entire world (newsflash: the good old USA is not #1). They are in their situation there because of the intensity of this particular pathogen. This is an extremely serious predicament and it will get a lot worse before it gets better here in the US, simply because of our hubris. Be grateful that we have the choices that exist here, do not rebuke entities that are doing precisely what they should be doing, and that is educating and informing. Whether you want that is your choice alone, as is how you react as your article so eloquently pointed out.
Thank you for this.
Thank you, Russell. Beautifully stated. Educating oneself, and taking personal and civic responsibly, is paramount. Thankfully, we have a free press and scientific experts that are not under authoritarian control. This is not something being done to the United States, it is a global pandemic.
Good Morning Eric and thank you for being a voice of reason in this craziness. It is difficult to stay grounded, when people are panicking, but so important to not feed into it. We will get through this and I would like to think this as an opportunity to show human kindness and love to one another. I will share your article, thank you for your insight.
My coffee will taste so good this morning. I just returned from Patagonia on a fly fishing trip. It should have been a plein air painting trip.
I am so thankful that I got to go before the virus prevented it.
I pray we get to catch up at the Convention in Denver. See you later, Captain.
Sorry to hear about Brady. Hope he is doing better.
Check out George Washington’s “Prayer to the Nation” written in 1787. I read it each year at Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Love ya, brother! Burkey
Read the Prayer to the nations and will put it with my copies of The Gettysburg address and Ronald Reagan’s speech at Normandy. Thanks.
I’m a painter and a nurse and Tuesday in David Dunlop’s class I tried so hard to relieve so much fear and panic to no avail the media is doing a wonderful job of destroying America your article should be read by every one it would enlighten all of us although I was already on your page before I read the first word!
I always enjoy your Sunday messages, and this was an especially powerful one. Thank you for being a calm voice during a turbulent time.
I completely agree that the media is being irresponsible and making the current situation worse.
Thank you. I needed this and it’s the most logical article I’ve read. Bless you for your calm spirit and willingness to share. I’m 71 and a RN that still practices one day a week. I have been fighting with negative thoughts and so many what “ifs “. I will save and reread your article.
I hope you are doing well. We’ve never spoken before, but you’ve had a tremendous impact on my life. I am the wife of one of your previous full-time independent contractors who you fired just over two years ago, eleven days after our first child was born. I was prepared for the Coronavirus outbreak, because in all reality, losing our primary source of income at that vulnerable time was much scarier. We experienced many hardships following your decision, but we made it through. We survived by creatively access our personal resources. It took two years, but we are now thriving. Your blog post was reflective of your privilege and unconsciousness regarding how your choices impact others. You’re not alone. Your blog post was a mirror into my own unconscious privilege. I used to believe it was better not to say anything than say something offensive, and I’ve been wanting to say something to you for a long time. Now I realize silence hurts more than speaking up. I forgive you for your silence in January of 2018 and would like to thank you for sharing your perspective today. Overall, I agred with the comments you made, but I also wanted to direct your attention to what you overlooked. Your magazine will be much more likely to thrive if the people who work for you feel safe and respected. It would be worthwhile for you to offer salary and health benefits to your employees. In the meantime, use your influence to organize fundraisers. There are many painters in your network who would be more than happy to donate paintings raise money to those who need it. Please be aware that those who are less privileged have to risk their lives during this time while we have the privilege of staying safe at home. My heart goes out to you and your family.