Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fighting Fear

I try to think of something else but it's hard not to. I have a daughter flying into Dulles from West Africa this weekend.  She's not arriving from one of the affected countries but from somewhere close. And while at this point the extra scrutiny (temperatures taken, isolation if necessary) only applies to passengers arriving from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, I wonder if officials will widen the net, start checking those arriving from any West African nation.

It's fear at work, I know. But fear is contagious, too. And just as there's no vaccine for Ebola so also there is no immunization for fear. Information doesn't help — it's hard to read a newspaper or watch the news — but ignorance is no better.

One of the most poignant news programs I've heard about the epidemic described what doctors and nurses do in Liberia before starting their shifts. Here they are on the front lines, dealing with Ebola patients every day, wearing substandard protective gear and working in primitive conditions. And what do they do before anything else? They stand in a circle, they pray and they sing. 

If they can sing, so can we. Sing in their honor. Sing for their safety. Sing until the fear goes away.

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