As I write this letter to you, our readers, it’s early Monday morning, March 16, and this April issue is scheduled to upload to the printer in just a few hours. Only a few weeks ago in February, COVID-19 seemed a faraway disease that, although tragic, did not appear an imminent threat to the United States, much less the Columbia Metro area. Since that time, this insidious virus has made an inexorable march across the globe affecting virtually every corner, including our lovely city. All public events have been canceled, schools closed, and worship services livestreamed. In assessing the severity of the situation, our elected officials are engaged with implementing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The unknown and the unpredictable, especially when dealing with a disease that requires us to isolate until it’s controlled, naturally cause alarm and worry. This crisis is unprecedented and strange. Will our loved ones remain healthy and safe? How will this affect our jobs, businesses, and income? How long will this last? What are we to do? These unanswerable questions roll around and around in my head. In past crises — floods, hurricanes, tornados, war — we draw together, not apart. As bleak as this situation may appear, however, I am confident that this crisis will yet draw us closer together.
Although I desire to control my situations and manage them with predictable results, the fact of the matter is that I’m not in control and never have been. Situations like these bring that inescapable reality full force to my consciousness. Ultimately, God is in control and has a purpose for everything … even this bizarre set of circumstances in which we find ourselves. I find comfort in that. There are also signs that COVID-19 can be mitigated and brought under control. It’s encouraging to see the number of cases declining in the hotspots of China and Italy, and hopefully that will begin to happen here as well. Columbians have proved through many challenges in the past to be a compassionate and caring community that will do what is needed to overcome and help our neighbor. That spirit will also see us through this situation.
Emily and I, as well as our entire CMM team, care deeply for this community, and we are praying for you, our clients and our readers, for your protection during this period of uncertainty and for a return to normalcy.