November 1, 2020

Pandemic Reflections #7

"Have patience,

Have patience.

Don't be in such a hurry.

When you are impatient

You only start to worry. . ."


Did your mother ever sing that song to you? Given the persistence of COVID-19, it makes one wonder if we are all being called upon to be patient as we await a possible vaccine and are urged to continue wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. Individuals' impatience is becoming more and more obvious as time goes on as evident in their words: "I am so over this covid thing!" and "I am sick and tired of wearing a mask and not getting to go do whatever I want!"

Being asked to be patient insinuates there is an expectation of a change to come. In the therapeutic world we work with what is called first order change and second order change. First order change is the simple, albeit not always easy, changing of one's behavior and or attitude in a given situation. First order change is not to be dismissed as ineffective. It is a good step in the right direction, but rarely is it enough, in and of itself, to bring about a lasting, life-altering change. Second order change is accomplished through the intentional attempts to change one's perspective and expectations that will continue to guide the way they interact with the world around them. Let's face it, the 2020 coronavirus dilemma will require that we all adapt to some necessary second order change at some level that will forever impact our routines and change the way we interact with our world. If there is any chance that we, as a society, can defeat this virus, more of us are going to have to remain patient while we change the way we view its impact, and to take the recommended and necessary precautions to slow its spread and its way-too-often consequence of devastating death of our loved ones and neighbors.

May we all find it in our hearts to instill a bit more patience and do our part to help curtail the spread of the virus. Let us not fail to show our appreciation for those on the front line - the doctors, nurses, hospital staff, lab technicians, administrators, scientists - as they work exhausting hours to find a way to defeat this horrible virus, and to treat those who have become infected. If we don't do our part, we will continue to send sick people to the hospitals to be cared for by those who are already taxed beyond belief in their commitment to help.

Please be safe. Be considerate. And be patient.