Ordinary Ideas for Surviving the Coronavirus Apocalypse I

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Some say extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. These certainly are extraordinary times. I pray you are staying well.

But maybe it’s more true extraordinary times call for ordinary measures. “In extraordinary times, the ordinary takes on a glow and wonder all of its own,” writes Mike A. Lancaster.

With that in mind, over the next two weeks, I am going to write several blogs about ordinary things that we can all focus on as we walk this unprecedented path together. 


Hope sounds hard. It’s not. Hope is putting one foot in front of the other. Hope is saying, When this apocalypse is over, I will. . . .

Slip the word hope into a sentence about the future and you’ve done it. You’ve hoped. Read more about hope here. 

The Red-Headed-Wildflower and I hope to hike the 486 miles of the Colorado Trail in segments over the next couple of summers. Maybe that is also a metaphor for this difficult time. To make that possible we are hiking/walking about twenty miles a week. Hope is dreaming while awake. Hope is imaging things that can really happen either by your agency or God’s. And then acting. 

You don’t have to hope big things. That’s God’s job. 

But you do have to hope forward. Such as: what you are hoping to do at the end of this quarantine. Wine with friends? Breathe? Hope is practical. It keeps our minds from futile wishing and wrestling with things we cannot do anything about. And hope does not work backward. Regret is not a synonym of hope.

Mostly hope in God: “And hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

The next ordinary activity may seem the opposite of hope but is not. It is the dailyness of life hope launches from.

Shit, Shower, and Shave

Forgive the language. It’s an old Navy saying I picked up while stationed on the USS Kitty Hawk in the mid-seventies. It was our litany for starting the day on board ship. Simple. Direct. Necessary. 

I’m sure whoever wrote the movie Waterworld got the idea from being stationed on an aircraft carrier. They are pretty apocalyptic. No windows. You’re surrounded by steel, miles of ocean. And this movie features a soundtrack of metallic noise, diesel engines, thundering airplanes, and blaring horns. And the food was as bad as the movie Waterworld. 

Shit, shower, and shave also seems like a litany for our current situation. Do what you can, what needs done, check it off the list and move on. One of my favorite musicians, Bruce Cockburn asks, “If this were the last night of the world/what would I do?/What would I do that was different/Unless it was champaign with you?”

Something ordinary, with a little flare.

Under stress people have a tendency to shut down. We struggle to eat, sleep, bathe. In catastrophizing, we tend to let the daily–the ordinary–slip. Then the work to find health and our old rhythms multiplies. Then finding health and life is like finding that set of car keys you set down in a different place each time. Impossible!

Do the simple things that are needed for life. They are life!

I remember the several times I’ve been hospitalized for long periods of time, especially after surgery. The first gauge of health nurses watch for is a bowel movement. Then you shower and shave. Then next thing you know you’re on your way home and navigating stairs on crutches! The point is to stay grounded in daily life and pretty soon you’ll be navigating more.

Though I couldn’t find anything about shitting and showering in the Bible, after his release from prison, Joseph “shaved and changed his clothes, and came before Pharaoh.” Genesis 41:14 He first took care of the daily details.


Your Turn

I’m going to post a couple of ordinary suggestions for survival every few days. Please join in the fun. What are some of your ordinary ideas for survival and staying grounded? Please share them in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Ordinary Ideas for Surviving the Coronavirus Apocalypse I”

  1. Linda Bender

    Having enjoyable communication with others whom I don’t necessarily know duscussing the current situation we are all in. It helps to ease the tension. Bringing up Jesus and saying prayers with them is also a comfort.

  2. Georgie Ann KETTIG

    being older, I find that I’m happy enough to handle, enjoy and get through the “now” moments, such as they are,… and I’m blessed enough to have things that I do enjoy doing,… my hope has to be in God, in whose hands I place my future,…

    1. I’ve just begun to enjoy senior discounts! And now I’m in the category of most vulnerable. 🙂 I’ve prayed for you in this time. I also find the perspective having walked around the block a few times tempers my concern or fear. This is serious, but not the worst life has thrown at me or us. Our hope is in God.

  3. Sandy Rose Campbell

    Accomplish something everyday! Take advantage of this time to clean out our literal junk drawers.

    1. Yes, literal daily chores give us a picture of the world beneath the world. Clean out my junk drawer of fear and unbelief, Oh God.

    1. Oh, yes. Your paintings always invite me into an intriguing story. Please show us what God is speaking to you in your paintings!

  4. I have finally developed the discipline (after doing this for over two decades now) of writing five things I’m thankful for in my thankfulness journal. In the past I was definitely more faithful in writing the five things when life was hard. Now I pretty much do it every day.

    Look for/create beauty: The afternoon of 9/11 when the skies were silent over our home in Northern Virginia, I found myself weeding my flower garden. After such a horrific shock, I found myself in need of doing something I could control (weeding). I needed beauty (flowers). With the Coronavirus Covid-19 I photograph the flowers that still bloom, the ocean that still comes and goes with the tide. I paint.

    Finally, I’m seeing this quarantine as a forced Sabbath. Even though we ‘retired’ quite a few years ago serving as secon-career overseas missionaries keeps us very busy. It has actually been nice to have nothing to do and nowhere to go. I have given myself permission to take a nap or read a novel.

    Being thankful, seeking beauty, relishing in rest are ordinary things I’m doing in these extraordinary times.

  5. Phil Rice

    This is so good Eugene, thanks for pointing us toward hope and normalcy!

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