The Pond Scum Exchange (Why voting matters less than you think)

When we bought our sucky crack-house we thought the fantastic view of the zoo/park across the street might possibly redeem the pitiful structure. However, the park struggles financially and some things have become a bit of an eyesore. All summer long our park pond has looked like this:

Our neighborhood Facebook group recently debated the park pond problem. The back and forth went something like this: (Oh, a little caveat, our neighborhood isn’t exactly BIG on polite and edited language – so I just **** the swears like a good Christian and you can just say them in your head because Jesus doesn’t read minds… {insert eye-rolling})

Neighbor 1: What the f*** is wrong with the pond in the park? It stinks, it’s ugly and looks like Shrek should live there.

Neighbor 2: I think the new zoo/park president f***ed the whole place. It’s his fault.

Neighbor 3: What do you know about the president? He’s a great guy and has done a lot of good for the zoo/park.

[And then an argument ensued with about 10 more posts from an additional 10 neighbors and easily 20 more swears]

Neighbor 4: I think it’s a tax issue. We’re being screwed. The pond in the park on the north side isn’t covered in scum. They need to use some of our f***ing tax dollars to improve this side of town! We’ve been effed by the city.

Neighbor 5: You’re a f***ing socialist. You want all the neighborhoods to look the same and be treated the same.

[And another argument ensued with more jabbing back and forth and more swears]

Neighbor 6: I heard it was because of climate change. Something about f***ing with ecosystems and sh**.

Neighbor 7: Are you f***ing serious??? Climate change is such a f***ing hoax from liars who just want to keep us scared and controlled.

[And yet ANOTHER argument ensued – multiple posts, more swears, more name-calling, more hurt]

Neighbor 8:  You know what? I have a kayak and an old swimming pool surface skimmer. I bet if 2 or 3 of us went over this afternoon with our kayaks and pool skimmers we could have that pond cleaned up in about an hour. Anyone with me?

[Crickets…]

**********

Why I Want To Be Neighbor 8

Despite our constant affinity for social media bickering, I think ONE thing we might all agree on right now is this: Our political climate is heated, toxic, and dangerous – perhaps the worst in America’s history. It’s certainly the worst of my lifetime.

And, unless for some sick reason you enjoy fear, peril, and instability, I think we all long to have the bickering, back-biting and fear-mongering stop. We long for peace and unity and a country we can be proud of. We long for a time when both Democrats and Republicans and everyone in between can share thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams in a civil way with a glass of wine and lots of grace. We long to be a country where diversity is not only tolerated, but even celebrated. That I would not mind if your opinions are very different from mine – because you and your opinions help make me be a better me.

We long for November 3 to be done already so people will stop telling us how wrong we are.

The thing is, from all that I’ve seen and heard, the degree to which we attach importance of the presidential election seems to be inversely proportional to the degree of our involvement on the most pressing issues at stake. Another way to put it: those who are most likely to be vocal about the election to the point of demonizing “the other,” seem to be the least engaged in solutions.

Right now, I know many people who are: working to help the homeless, serving in underserved and underfunded schools, mentoring children and youth from troubled homes, praying for every person entering and leaving abortion clinics, serving at the local and state level of government where many of the decisions that directly affect us are made (like allocated abortion dollars – it’s FAR MORE of a state-by-state issue than a NATIONAL government issue – please read THIS if you believe the president has much say in abortion-related outcomes), serving those held in border control facilities by offering free medical care, working in Central America to decrease violence and expose and eliminate corruption so people won’t feel compelled to flee, coordinating racial reconciliation groups in their neighborhoods, bringing donuts and notes of encouragement to their local police precincts, volunteering at local food banks, building homes for Habitat for Humanity – and so, so many others…

And you know what all these people have in common? They are too busy DOING the things that America desperately needs that they have no time to spend on social media or elsewhere complaining about the problems and arguing over which person in some lofty seat of over-emphasized importance will best fix them.

They grabbed their kayaks and their pool skimmers and GOT BUSY!!!

In this unbelievably polarized political environment, our little neighborhood “pond-scum exchange” serves as a powerful reminder that the number one way we can bring change to the world is NOT by – as many falsely believe – making sure you vote for the “right” candidate, but to actually

BE THE CHANGE.

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

Surrounded by five precious friends who were part of our church small group and all ten years my senior, I had no business piping up about graduation open houses. The ladies were bemoaning the fact these events are a ton of work. As a young mom with only two elementary-aged kids at the time, I had no wisdom on the subject whatsoever. However, I was such a punk, I let those lovely ladies know that the wisest amongst us (presumably, me…) would never stoop to such a ridiculous, wasteful and unnecessary cultural trap! I let them know it was a huge waste of time, money and energy to obsess over painting the garage, updating the landscaping, buying new patio furniture, string lights, table décor and yard games, spending hours arranging the most Pinterest-y photo displays that no one looks at, and cooking expensive impressive foods for the throngs of friends and family who’d really all prefer to spend their Saturdays elsewhere. No, we, the smart parents, will forego the event, save the three thousand dollars and just hand the savings over to the undeserving grad (I mean, is high school even a REAL accomplishment these days???) and call it even. “It’s all a stupid game of competition,” I said, “And we’re not playing it!” Voila!

Three hours later in fit-full attempt at sleep, I realized how reckless my words had been. I suddenly realized that one of the sweetest ladies in my group actually had a child graduating that spring and was in the very midst of planning his graduation open house.

Me and my big mouth.

It took all my courage to call her the next morning and apologize. (Is there anyone who LIKES to be wrong and LIKES to apologize??? How I dreaded that phone call!) I told her I had overstepped and it was uncalled for. I apologized for talking about something I knew nothing about and that I had no business judging others for their decisions on that issue.

And you know what she said? I’ll never forget it:

“Cindy, don’t worry about it! Not for a second! Your words maybe stung for a second, but you know what? I know your heart and your heart is good. When you know someone well and you know they would never intentionally hurt you, you just let stuff like that go. Don’t worry about it. You’re my dear friend and I love you. I forgive you.”

Mercy. Lord have mercy. She offered me mercy.

Oh, precious friends – what if we offered the same thing for one another today? Why are we throwing words arounds like darts to the people we know and love the most – people with whom we actually DO life together – and wounding one another with our words? What if we actually trusted the goodness of those that we know and instead of resorting to name-calling and assigning evil intent, we simply doled out mercy like ice cream on a hot summer day?

What if we stopped letting Rachel Maddow, Tucker Carlson, Chris Cuomo and Sean Hannity (or ALL the many opinion-based news outlets) tell us who is “evil”? What if we raised our collective voices and said, “NO! You sucker-punch pundits – you don’t get the right to tell me who my enemy is. These people here? These people are my family, my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, my fellow church goers – I KNOW these people and I KNOW THEIR HEARTS!!! And YOU, you talking-head who knows absolutely nothing about these lovely people in my life, YOU don’t get to tell me they are “evil.”

What if we raised our voices against those who are trying to divide us and said: STOP IT, YOU RATES-SEEKING OPINIONATED LOUDMOUTHS! (Friends, if there is ONE thing critical to putting an end to divisiveness in America, it’s that we learn and understand the difference between news and opinion pieces. Most mediums claiming to share news are, in reality, pure opinion and they are simply fueling the fire that stirs in the belly of their favorite fans. It’s a ratings game and our intelligence must rise above it, quite honestly.)

Remember when our kids were young and they’d tell us they wouldn’t play with “so-and-so” because all the other kids said she was “weird” or “stinky” or “mean” or whatever nasty label nasty kids give to the “so-and-so’s” of the world? Remember that? What did we tell our kids? Did we say “Yeah, that’s right. We don’t mix with the “so-and-so’s. Stay away from her, for sure!”

No way.

Instead, we bent down low, close to our child’s face and spoke plain and clear to ensure they understood us and said, “Don’t you pay ANY mind to what the other kids say about “so-and-so”! Do not judge other kids based on what a few loudmouth kids have to say! Do NOT be a follower! Make up your own mind! Get to know “so-and-so.” Sit by her at lunch and share your food with her. Talk to her and EXPECT to find the good in her. Never listen to the bullies.”

Never listen to the bullies.

Oh my goodness, Americans! If kindergartners can do this, so can we!!! Let’s not listen to the bullies! Let’s listen to each other’s hearts! Let’s give each other an attentive listening ear and even if at the end of the conversation we don’t see eye-to-eye, we still say to each other:

“Don’t worry about it. I know your heart, and your heart is good. I cannot be hurt by your words or even your actions, because I KNOW YOU AND YOU ARE GOOD and you would not intentionally hurt me. I will give you MERCY.”

Even when Washington DC can’t bridge the great political divide, I know WE can.

Peoples of America: We DO NOT have to accept this narrative of division.

We can CHOOSE MERCY.

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another.’ … Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been mercifulMercy triumphs over judgment!”    Amos 7:9

Every Rose Has It’s Thorns (or why America is in a crap-load of trouble)

The last movie we saw before that devilish virus shut down all the theatres was “I Still Believe.” I’m still not sure if it was KJ Apa’s impish little grin or the story line that made me so emotional and bawl like a baby. Either way – the film is incredible and if you love love stories and/or Jesus, you should go see it.

But even better than the movie itself was one of it’s theme songs. It jumped off the screen right into my head’s hard drive and I can’t get it out of my mind. Not that I want it to.

The song’s message couldn’t be more relevant to the season of life we’re in. It’s as if God actually knew what He was doing when He released this movie (and this song) to usher our world into this perilous season of pain, suffering, uncertainty and division.

Hmmmm.

The song, a remix from the now disbanded group Delirious?, is called “Find Me At The River.” Rather than quote the whole thing, I’d LOVE for you to listen to it right here. Essentially, Martin Smith, who penned the lyrics, suggests when all hell breaks loose and it feels like Jesus has left the building, we should be found at the river of life – standing in the waters – eyes wide open for Jesus to show up.

Because, Jesus ALWAYS shows up.

The following phrases from the song are so profound I MUST quote them:

“We longed to see the roses

 But never felt the thorns

And bought our pretty crowns

But never paid the price….

We didn’t count on suffering

We didn’t count on pain

But if there are blessings in the valley

Then in the river I will wait”

OH MY GOSH!!! Do you see what I see??? This is AMERICA today!!! Martin Smith is speaking to America!

I truly believe that much of the world – whose people and cities and stories go back thousands of years before ours – are sitting back and listening to our country’s whining and just shaking their heads. Places like Iraq, where the Biblical Tigris and Euphrates flow through it’s center, or Syria, where the capital Damascus is mentioned in Genesis, or Egypt, where Joseph and Mary fled to with baby Jesus – yes, places like that are like our wise old great-great-great-grandfathers looking at the “barely formed” America and thinking, “Yes, America, you immature teenager you, there IS suffering in this life. You have known great prosperity but it will not and cannot last forever. Suffering will come and it will go. Again and again and again. And when you are an old grandfather like me, you will come to understand that you can’t only have the roses and never know the thorns. You can’t have pretty crowns and never pay the price. Hang in there, America. You’ll understand someday. You’ve been on waaaaaaay too long of an enchanted journey so reality is gonna bite. But it is in that reality where you will find that which really matters. And (spoiler alert) it isn’t in having the biggest military, or being the strongest and richest country in the world, or even the most powerful and influential. No, even if you were to lose all those things and all that status, you could still be a great nation – but only if God finds you in the river waiting there for Him.”

We may think America has fallen on “hard times” and we may think that things are ramping up to some kind of cataclysmic fall, but the truth is, we don’t even have a clue what hard times are. What we’re experiencing now? It’s barely a tickle.

We once heard a princess from Burundi speak at our church. It was her first visit to America so she asked if she could begin her learning and understanding of our country by seeing America’s poor people. Her host picked her up at Chicago O’Hare and knew exactly where to take her – the housing projects of Chicago’s south side. There are not many, if any, poorer huddled masses in America. When they arrived she asked, “What are those buildings?” Her host, thinking she must be devastated by the blown out windows, the fire scorched brick, the bullet holes peppering the exterior, said, “That is where the poor people live.”

Then she asked, “What are those structures out front?” Her host, again, thought she must be so sad to see garbage strewn everywhere in the dilapidated playground surrounded by broken fencing. His eyes met hers studying the basketball court with no hoop, two garbage dumpsters tipped upside down, four black men playing cards on a cardboard box while perched on buckets, and two separate gangs of fierce-looking youth hanging out in the perimeter, so he knowingly replied, “Yes, that is supposed to be the playground for the poor people’s children.”

Next she asked, “And how about those cars?” Again, her host, assuming her pain as she gazed at the line of rusted out, old model cars with barely any hubcaps, missing tires, blown out windows, and some even burned down to a crispy shell of metal, replied, “I know. It’s so sad. Those are the cars of the poor people.”

Again, she asked, “This is where the poor people live?”

“Yes,” her host said sadly.

Slowly, the princess looked over at her host and replied in her heavy Burundian accent, “America does not have poor people.”

Do you see it??? Do you see who America is to the rest of the world??? A spoiled teenager. We long to see the roses, but we’ve never felt the thorns. We want our pretty crowns but we don’t want to pay the price.

I believe the pandemic mayhem, the racial tension and political division resulting in a time of historically high hate levels is really just the thorns. We’ve had a lot of roses, America. Despite two world wars, a brutal Civil War and, according to most accounts, over 100 smaller wars, still, America has collectively never known the hardships experienced elsewhere in the world – we just haven’t been around long enough to know the same extent of suffering. We’ve never known hunger to the same extent as the developing world. We’ve never known the depth of violence, poverty, persecution, oppression or civil unrest as much of the world experiences as “everyday life.”

No matter how we come out of this mess, if we (believers in Christ) stay in the river and keep our eyes focused on Jesus and believe that He alone is all that matters, we will indeed find blessings in the valley. It does not matter if we come out on top. In fact, it’s often best if we don’t. If we are no longer the “greatest” or “most powerful” country it’s still going to be okay. If we lose our 401k’s or our homes or our cars or our jobs or even our health, we’re still going to be okay. Because, at the end of days, those are not the things that matter.

What matters in this crisis is that we live and love like Jesus. We must come together in unity, and bear one another’s burdens and open our homes to those who have lost theirs. We must feed those who can’t afford to buy food. We must reduce our spending so we can assist those who have lost jobs. We must reach out to those who are being forgotten, trampled, hurt, and afraid. We must rise above our differences and show love to everyone – even those who see the world differently than us. Scripture’s quite clear on what it is that we are to DO, both in times of plenty and in times of great need: love the weak, the poor, the oppressed, and defend the cause of the orphan, the widow, and the alien in our midst. And right up there with loving the Lord Our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is loving our neighbor as ourselves. That means ALL the neighbors.

It’s okay, America, if this is a hard season. This is only the thorns – and we haven’t experienced many. And it is only in the thorns that we discover the true beauty of the roses.

Perhaps America does not yet know just how beautiful the roses are and just how rich a crown she wears. Perhaps that is why she is now suffering.

Trees

When we moved back from Morocco, I noticed a lot of dead trees – many more than what I remembered from before our move. I kept mentioning this to others and they’d say they hadn’t noticed and then they’d look at me quizzically, as if their worst fears were realized: Yep. She was brainwashed by some crazy Islamist over there and now, not only does she love Muslims, she’s lost her grip on reality, too.

But I am convinced trees are dying at a more rapid rate than they used to. Kinda like people right now.

PATRIARCH TREES

All this virus stuff propagating thoughts on death and disease has made me consider these dead trees. And I’ve observed a few things: The biggest and oldest trees grow taller every year and push farther heavenward as they seek the sun. They are like wise, old patriarchs who are masters at protecting, nurturing, sheltering and beautifying. Their tall, sturdy trunks reveal years and years of battle scars: they have fought valiantly in many a storm. Their inside rings secretly reveal their age and their bark tells the stories eternally etched as lover’s initials or all those who “were here.” Further inspection discloses nooks and crevices that served as safe havens to multiple needy forest creatures over the years. Even into old age, their role for the world so evident: Their roots go so deep, they are unshakeable.

These trees have done their good work for decades, maybe even centuries. But eventually, they will tire and fade and die because nothing lasts forever. And they will most certainly be missed by anyone who notices the trees. Something vital and essential to our landscape will be gone! However, GOOD NEWS!  The old trees have left behind numerous smaller trees in their perimeter and they have now grown to the point where they are ready to mature independently. Why are these young trees so ready and able? Because they have been nurtured, protected, and sheltered by the taller, bigger, and older trees! And you know what happens when the old trees finally die? The little ones below suddenly receive more sunlight! They are able to push heavenward a little easier without the heavy shade of the older trees!

REVERENCE

This is what I’ve noticed in best communities: they revere the old trees. They surround them with beauty like flowers or hostas and a bench. Often, the bench has a gold commemorative plaque honoring someone who did some good thing. Passersby will stop and read the plaque, sit on the bench and admire the tree that shades it. They’ll run their hands over the bark and try to figure out how old the tree is and who the people are behind all the carved initials.

No one digs up old trees and places them all in one location so they can die huddled together, spreading diseases faster than a forest fire. No, the tall, old trees are out in the public square, in the parks and in our yards. We revere those trees because we know they’ve EARNED their spot and their recognition. We sit beneath them and thank them for their years.

Why can’t the same be true for elderly people?

What if we sat at the feet of elderly people and revered them and appreciated their experiences and wisdom? What if we asked them if we could feel their skin and wrinkles? What if we asked Grandma how she met Grandpa? What if we asked them how they chose their professions? What if we asked what it was like to live during World War II? What if we asked them if they had old journals or diaries and if we could read them together? What if we asked them what kind of music they listened to growing up and then listened to it together? What if we made plaques commemorating what astounding individuals they are and put them on their doorposts so everybody could see? What if we respected the elderly as much as we respected old trees?

A PRAYER FOR THE TREES

I asked my mom about the tree comparison recently. At 79 years old, she says she is ready to “bow out” of the woods and let the younger trees rise up and take her place. She told me all her (older) friends feel the same way. She said it’s okay if a crazy virus takes her life. “God knows the number of my days. It’s the classic circle of life. I’m okay to make way for you younger trees to rise up and have your time in the sun.”

My prayer for you and for me, is that as we age, we can be like the trees.

May we all, at the end of our days, be able to say our roots go down deep, that we provided shelter and food and a home for those in our vicinity with need. May our exterior not be perfect, but showing clear signs of wear and tear that signify we have lived fully – engaged in the difficult but necessary work of life. May we say that although our presence in the “forest” around us ended, we did, indeed, encourage growth to our surroundings and may we look about us and recognize a whole forest of younger people ready to take over our many roles of service. And may those young people look up to us patriarch trees and say, “It has been nice having you in my forest. I’d never be who I am today without you in my life.”

When Is It Time To Let Me Die?

My doctor is very clear, if I get CVD-19, it will not go well for me. My stupid lung-sucking disease puts me in the small minority of the population for whom the rest of you are being quarantined.

Perhaps you’re experiencing some of the same vacillating opinions as me where one day (maybe even one moment) you’d like to poke the eyeballs of someone who says, “Well, you know this isn’t even as bad as the flu” and then, on another day, you flip viewpoints when you hear of the woman down the street who, due to quarantining with her abusive boyfriend, landed in the shelter for battered women –  at which point you scream into the abyss: “This BS has to end, God! LET MY PEOPLE GO!”

We’re not only confused from the polarity of the narratives we’re given, but also because our favorite people sometimes view the exact same reality completely opposite than us. Because this pandemic has been usurped and exploited by the political extremes it is fracturing our country into two camps at a dizzying pace. Some are desperately trying to minimize this crisis so their man looks good and responsible hoping he can restore the economy in time for the next election. On the far opposite side are those who are actually wishing for a significant death toll and accompanying pandemonium to portray Trump as an incompetent madman. Either way  (and every way in between) – we must never forget that this whole mess is NOT about politics, IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE.

These are people made in God’s image.

And people matter.

All people.

Initially, when this thing first reared its ugly head and many people said (and continue to say), “This isn’t so serious. It’s only the elderly and those with underlying conditions who are at high risk,” I truly felt as if my life did NOT matter. Those comments have repeatedly made me feel dismissed, disregarded, unimportant and not worth inconveniencing the rest of the people that DO matter in America – the HEALTHY ones.

Oh, don’t mind me. Just little ‘ole me with an underlying condition over here…  I get it that you think I’m already half dead and therefore not worth your suffering. So you just go right ahead and get your haircut, purchase that lawn fertilizer and run to Costco without a mask. I see how you value things in life. The sick and the elderly apparently rank fairly low. But you know – we’re not all that different, you and me. I, too, strongly believe in fighting for the unborn, our religious liberties, and our American freedoms; but it grieves me that now that I need someone to fight for me (and by fight, I mean “stay home”), you won’t.

TIDES DO TURN

We have three California kids and Paul and I have sat and watched the Pacific ocean for countless hours – mesmerized by God in creation. Anyone who has seen the ocean knows the tide comes in, and then goes out. Surfers, boogie boarders and swimmers all know the tide sometimes pulls you north, and some days it pulls you south. One thing that will always be certain in this life: the tides are always turning.

And I’m wondering if the tide has turned for me. I don’t know if the guilt of watching an entire nation on lockdown on behalf of people like me has just become too much or if I’m just sick and tired of the fighting. It just feels like my mindset is shifting and the winds of change are blowing…

  • Is it time for us to say we did the best we could and gave social distancing a good run, but now it’s just too much and it’s time to move on regardless of the consequences?
  • Is it time for those with underlying diseases and the elderly to acquiesce and say “I give” – concluding the devastation resulting from this quarantine is worse than us losing our lives?

Which all begs the question:

WHAT IS MY LIFE WORTH?

I don’t doubt my life is worth more than your hair, your lawns, or your beers. Most of us (Christians, anyway) would, at the very least, SAY that people are more important than money or things. So when I hear everyone talking about the failing economy as the primary reason to open things up, I feel as expendable as a Jew in Auschwitz (who were, btw, blamed for any economic woes in Germany).

HOWEVER…

Because of all the cultural pressure, the noise and opinions coming from the far right, and the collective anger mounting in our country as a result of the quarantine, I’m beginning to feel my life really isn’t worth all this suffering. I’m wondering where we draw the line at what my life (and those in similar situations) is worth.

  • I’m wondering if my life really isn’t worth the collective livelihoods of thousands, maybe even millions, who are now unable to maintain food, shelter and clothing for themselves or their families.
  • I’m now wondering if my life really isn’t worth someone losing their family business they poured their entire life into for the past 32 years only to head into retirement penniless and too old for a plan B.
  • I really don’t believe my life is worth children going to bed hungry tonight.
  • I don’t believe my life is worth soaring suicide rates or increases in domestic abuse. This makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
  • I’m wondering if my life isn’t worth the broken relationships, the constant fighting, or an insurmountable division in our nation.
  • I’m wondering if my life isn’t worth the words “civil war,” “holocaust,” or “tyranny,” entering our daily vernacular (which, if you haven’t noticed, they have).

I have not seen actual numbers or even predictions of how many people would actually LOSE their lives should the quarantine linger on vs. how many of us will LOSE our lives if the corona boogey man be set loose to come and get us. These numbers are probably impossible to know definitively and impossible to compare. I mean, is it even possible to measure pain and suffering? And then, at what point does intensive and widespread pain and suffering equal the cost of a life? This is my conundrum. Is it unfair of me to suggest my right to a life safe from a deadly virus and with a healthcare system able to accomodate me is worth MORE than the price you are all paying to achieve it?

I have seen some terrible things in this life and I truly believe there are things of this earth worse than death. I’m concerned that as a result of this national shutdown and rapidly declining economy, many people are being forced to face some of those things. Dying while still living is worse than death. That’s been my experience, anyway.

I am 53 years old and maybe that’s why I even dare contemplate if my life has less value than others. Our kids have grown – two are happily married and the other two are soaring. So, even if I were to be robbed of 30 years, I’ve still lived fairly long and I’ve lived well. I certainly can’t speak for anyone younger than me. No one should die with children still at home. The truth is, I don’t want anyone to die. I don’t believe in euthanasia, abortion, genocide, or capital punishment and I didn’t think my abhorrence for gun violence could get any worse until I heard how Ahmoud Arbury was shot in cold blood this week.

I truly do believe Every. Life. Matters.

But…. What if …. What if we are FORCED into a corner and were FORCED to decide whose life matters MOST? Are we there and is it time to have this conversation?

IF SO, WHAT’S NEXT?

If this is a war of sorts, then there WILL be casualties. People will die either as a result of the battle with coronavirus or people will die (or, more likely, their dreams, ambitions, and futures will die) as a result of a too-long quarantine. Either way, both are casualties.

I realize simply opening up America is not an automatic death sentence for me. I realize I can CHOOSE to stay quarantined (and I will) and I can CHOOSE to stay away from people who might be potential spreaders (which is everyone, but still I’ll do it) and I can CHOOSE to live isolated like this for a year or two if necessary. I’m not opposed to quarantining the sick and elderly instead of the healthy. But do not tell me this is like “leprosy” or “TB” – because I do NOT actually HAVE the coronavirus and I basically live as a healthy person, yet I’ll still have to quarantine indefinitely so YOU can get your life back and I can hopefully save mine.

I’m just truly wondering if the time has come for me to “head to the front lines” in this battle against coronavirus in the sense that if America opens back up, my vulnerability and risk of infection and death suddenly skyrockets.

I’m seriously just wondering, is it time to let me die?