By Stephen W. Hiemstra
Corona crazy describes a lot of the odd behavior that we have witnessed in others. How else can you explain people ignoring social distancing and acting as if the pandemic had passed? Partying, demonstrating, and politicians doing what they do all seems out of place. So do the periodical stock market ralleys.
Corona crazy is like responses to a game of Russian roulette. Some just don’t seem to understand the rules of the game and get killed out of ignorance, like the guy who plays with an automatic instead of a revolver. Some run from the game screaming and get killed running through traffic. Others get a buzz on pulling the trigger and start twirling the cylinders like there’s no tomorrow. Russian roulette is risky enough, let alone compound the risk by loosing your head.
Corona crazy aptly diagnoses my own sentiments over the past few weeks. After my friends at El Shadai DC prayed over me last week, my crazy fever lifted and I felt at peace, something obvious only after a couple of days had passed. I no longer felt anxious and have been able to work in my usual custom.
Experiences of Loneliness
The isolation over the past several months is reminiscent of summers on my grandparent’s farm in Oskaloosa, Iowa when I was growing up. We spent most of our time gardening, cooking, or doing chores, but gathered for meals and rested in the heat of the day near the air conditioner that hung out the family room window. Saturdays we might go to town for groceries or grandma’s hair appointment, but we really only saw friends and family on Sundays in church.
Did people go crazy on the farm? Normally only in winter when the weather served as a pre-existing condition. More normally, they simply learned to appreciate the people they met.
The Holocaust and the Affliction of Despair
Corona crazy is a bit different from normal loneliness because normal loneliness does not evoke the fear that someone near and dear to you will develop a life-threatening illness. Corona crazy shares more in common with the experience in the death camps during the holocaust recorded by Viktor Frankl.
While other camp inmates experienced such despair that they committed suicide by attempting to escape through the barbed wire fences around the camps, Frankl contemplated the lectures that he would give after the war on the psychology of the concentration camp! (Frankl 2008, 82) Because 27 out 28 inmates did not survive, clearly Frankl’s mental exercise proved resourceful and had a familiar ring.
Because we know that our future is in Christ, we need not despair about current circumstances.
How will your life be different after we have a vaccine and can return to a more normal life?
Frankl, Viktor E. 2008. Man’s Search for Meaning: A Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust (Orig Pub 1946). Translated by Ilse Lasch. London: Rider. (review)
Lucas, Max. 2009. Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. (review)