How Do We Keep Chaos at Bay During Covid?

March 23, 2022

I think much study needs to be done to prove the lockdowns did or did not save lives. Most of the data I’ve seen is so politicized it is really hard to know the truth. I can tell you that the lockdowns had a crushing effect on American individuals and families. All social indicators show the suicide rate sky rocketed, as did the divorce rate, child abuse rates, addiction and depression rates, just to name a few. (For more details see Tracking Social Determinants of Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic | KFF). I think I can shed some important light on why Americans struggled so with the quarantines.

I was reading about how important it is for us to organize those parts of our lives that we can control because much of life is very chaotic and life in general is much more complex than we can handle by ourselves. For example, many of us own our own homes. It is a constant task to make sure our homes are doing the work of sheltering us that we expect. We depend on electricians, plumbers, builders, pavement experts, and repair experts to keep our homes up. In addition, we look for help from friends to attend to the leaks, breakage, cracks, and dozens of other small projects that will threaten our homes. If we don’t attend to them quickly our homes fall into disrepair.

Few of us could maintain our homes without any help, and would probably have to quit our jobs if we tried. That is just one item among dozens of daily tasks that are complex beyond our imagination. So we need structure and predictability just to remain sane. Our sanity literally depends on structure and predictability. Psychologists will tell you that people don’t lose sanity because they have a mental disorder. More often they lose sanity because the time management issues of their life have gotten out of control and their lives feel like chaos has taken over.

Yet, life is way too complex and unpredictable for any of us to control by ourselves. So we depend on each other, social structures, and the things we do to organize our complex lives to keep ourselves sane. We need each other to help with tasks too big for us to accomplish, encourage us, love us, build us up, hug us, and give us guidance and wisdom for the countless things we don’t know how to do, but need to have done. We need our family, the church and our spiritual family, government, first-responders, medical professionals, financial guides, schools, just to name a few of the social structures we depend on daily to keep chaos at bay. All of these work together to help us sleep at night knowing our lives are not going to be consumed by chaos the next day.

In March 2020 everything we had organized was thrown into chaos by covid. It was two years ago this month when we voluntarily quarantined our nation for two weeks to slow the spread of the virus. Everything we need to stay sane was under attack over the last two years. We were told to separate ourselves from one another, and if we do get close to anyone put on a mask. I’m not blaming anyone for these decisions, I’m pointing out why mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health has gone into a free fall for large sections of our country over these last two years.

Everything we know that helps us organize our lives was turned upside down. My conclusion is the cure was worse than the disease. We need each other. We need each other to keep each other strong mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We need to worship God together. We need to fellowship together. We need to serve the Lord together. We need to read the Bible, pray, and witness to the power of Jesus Christ in our lives together. Paul tells us many times in his letters how much we need each other. For example, in I Thessalonians 5:11 we read, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

When I look back on these last two years I have found that those who have lived their lives disciplined and involved in the lives of others have fared the best. Have you struggled these last two years? What has been the hardest thing? Are you beginning to spend time with people again? Can you tell the difference in your overall health? I invite you to look back over the year and think about how you have lived it.