vince and tiff

Prince Charles tested positive for the coronavirus. So did Tom Dempsey and Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints football team in addition to numerous NBA players. Famous neurosurgeon, James Goodrich, died from the infection and CNN journalist Chris Cuomo, brother of New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, recovered (thank God!) after being confined to a basement, shivering with a raging fever, shortness of breath, scared to death of infecting his wife and kids.

After Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the New Orleans musical family which includes trumpeter Wynton and saxophonist Branford, succumbed to the virus, it became glaringly apparent that the virus was taking more from us than it was giving.

So, it was almost incumbent upon us to find our silver lining or we, too, may succumb — either physically or emotionally.

Since the start of our quarantine, my dad and I began to journal about things that we never wanted to do again after the virus passed or things we learned after experiencing some of the worst days of the pandemic.

Now that we are somewhat above water, we feel it necessary to share the 10 things that Mr. Coronavirus has taught us in descending order from the least to the most important.

We invite you, dear reader, to make your own list so that you engrave them with an iron pen on the tablet of your heart forever. For, this is indeed a moment in history which should forever change you.

10. This is Equal Ground – Governor Andrew Cuomo said it is the great equalizer and nobody is immune from being afflicted. It underscores the line from the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal.”

9. People are Sacrificing for Each Other – There are many people who put the good of others above their own personal well-being. What would we do without the first responders, the valiant doctors and nurses or the diligent store clerks who risk their lives keeping our local grocery store shelves fully stocked? I, Vince, have been heading out each day to distribute food to the community members seeking refuge at our church in Lake Wales, Florida. Masked up and ready to go, I don’t know who has what. But, what I do know is, food is an essential. And, if they lack the cash to buy it, they will starve. It’s a cause great enough for which to venture out into the world.

8. People are not in Control – People are beginning to understand that we are really not in control. As Dr. Fauci said, we do not determine the timeline – the virus does that. At best, we can only manage our reaction to it. Hence we are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. So where and how we end up depends on the prevailing spiritual wind that we allow to drive us.

7. Thriving Businesses are Shutting Down – Pride and self-reliance have to be abandoned as businesses shut their doors and more than 3 million people are left jobless. Dalen Lacy, after he lost his warehouse job and 7-Eleven slashed his hours, was forced to go to a local charity to get some handouts for his family.             

“I’ve never had to actually do this,” Lacy said as a gloved pantry worker hefted a box of food into the trunk of the car. “But I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for my kids.”

6. Good Economy is Second to Good Health – The economy and earning money is of secondary importance right now, no matter how we rage about how much we stand to lose. Money does you no good if you are dead. First things first. You need a healthy mind in a healthy body to establish and maintain a healthy economy.

Throughout the pandemic, I, Tiffani, established a quarantine home work-out group on WhatsApp so that my friends and even social media acquaintances I didn’t know all that well could quit the lazy couch potato routine and fire up their abs. We chat in daily to the group to confirm that we did the exercise sequence and we even share inches lost and pounds shed.

5. Political Parties Don’t Matter – To all media, conservative and liberal, not everything has to be about Trump and his image–whether negative or positive. The virus does not recognize borders, barriers, political positions or party affiliations. It is what it is and we have to deal with it as it is, not how it could have been, should be or will be. Forget about yesterday. Let us all do all we can to get through today or there will be no tomorrow to worry about.

4. People are praying – Thoughts and prayers are flying off our lips, like toilet paper off grocery shelves. I sincerely hope that they are not used in the same way. When we are full of it, they are used to wipe things clean, then they are flushed down the sewer drain, never to be thought about again, until the next time trouble comes our way.

3. Having a Lot Doesn’t Matter Anymore – A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he has, nor does peace of mind come from an overflowing bank account. I, Tiffani, just sheltered a friend who is at the brink of divorcing her husband. She’s had the best quarter she’s ever had in her business but there’s no amount of money that can fix her broken heart and broken marriage. She’d quickly trade her great quarter to salvage her marriage. This lesson has been the toughest one to learn. Money does not buy happiness. The virus and its effects can ravage you all the same.

2. It is not good for man to be alone – People are dying alone without relatives or friends, quickly disconnected from urgently needed ventilators and unceremoniously dumped, like yesterday’s garbage, in a temporary morgue located in a refrigerated truck, parked out back. Some have yet to be identified by their loved ones. Sic transit gloria mundi. And so it ends for everyone, no matter your previous status in life.

1. God over everything – If we never knew it, we certainly are aware of it. There’s got to be something in this life that keeps us grounded. For us, it’s our faith in the God of the universe.

In fact, we’ve grown more steadfast in faith outside of the church walls than when could regularly venture inside them.

Isn’t life funny? Thanks, Mr. Corona, for your lessons.