I lived in Cornerstone, Ark., from 1958 through approximately 1969. We were a poor African-American family living in a house strategically positioned in a cotton field that was supported by concrete blocks, while the inside consisted of no central heat, no indoor plumbing, and no gas cooking stoves.
My four-room home had a tin roof that echoed with each raindrop during a thunderstorm. Each room was fully utilized. One large room slept four youth and two grandparents. The second room was a bedroom and living space where my mom slept and we watched TV. The third room was a kitchen and the last room served as a combined storage room and bathing space.
Food supply was just a few steps outside the house. A large garden, a pig pen, chickens, and a smoke house kept us feed year-round. It was normal living for folks living in our township. It was the good old days. We worked together, combined our resources, and everyone had a home duty. Life was poor and hard, but filled with fun, laughter, and love.
Now flash forward to our lives today. Panic stricken - not just because of the Coronavirus, but also because of adjustments we have to make in our daily routines. I get it! This is huge! This can potentially be life or death to some people! We face questions like … Who will take care of the children while I work? Do I have enough supplies and food? Will I have a job tomorrow? How can I protect myself against this virus? We are being asked to stay home, cook at home, teach our children from home, and relearn how to live together in the same house.
When I see things on the news like hoarding or people using this crisis for gain, I wonder what happened to us? We act as if we don’t know how to live within our means. We forgot how to share our excess with our neighbors. We forgot how to share a meal at the dinner table together. Don’t you know we were the first home teachers before they even started “home schooling?”
We are resilient! Outbreak or not, now is the time for teamwork and trust in God. Yes, I included teamwork with trusting God. In order for us to get through this pandemic, it’s everyone’s responsibility to engage in teamwork and looking out for one another.
In Nehemiah 4, the Israelites were trying to build a wall at the same time the enemy was attacking them. Some stood guard and others worked to get the wall built. Teamwork! Today, we are under an attack by an invisible enemy, Coronavirus. The only problem is we can’t see this enemy. However, we have been given tools to protect our families and secure our walls. We must not allow the enemy to be victorious. We will win this war by working together, washing our hands, practice social distancing, educating ourselves on the need for cleanliness, and praying.
Brenette Wilder, Lee’s Summit, Mo.,
(former Altheimer, AR, resident)