The COVID-19 crisis has taken us all into unchartered waters; I never thought I would be afraid to touch the mail, open an Amazon package, go to the grocery store, shake someone’s hand, or give a friend a hug. Certainly, we have all faced crises in our lives. In April 2006, our Clay family unit faced a horrible one when my youngest sister, Helen, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at age 11. Among the weightier fears for her life also came big changes to our daily lives. When I caught a cold during my high school senior trip, I was told I couldn’t come home until I was completely recovered. Would Helen see my Hammond performance in Les Mis or be able to attend my graduation? This was a family crisis that, while our friends were incredibly caring and compassionate, no one could fully enter into outside of our immediate family.
The thousand-year flood of 2015, in contrast, connected all of Columbia. As the waters wreaked devastation throughout our city, the community bonded together as neighbor helped neighbor, and we walked arm in arm through the shared burden of recovery. My friends in other states weren’t connected to this crisis. Supportive, yes. Horrified, absolutely. But they didn’t understand what it was actually like to be a part of it.
COVID-19 is not just affecting my family, our city, our state, or even just our country. All the people of the world are connected in this crisis and are experiencing the same levels of stress, fear, and grief. While the ubiquity of this “100-year pandemic” is devastating, it also strangely bonds us with people we have never met, broadening our scope perhaps to pray for people, leaders, and countries on opposite ends of the globe that have never before been at the forefront of our thoughts. For the first time, we can all relate. As a world, as a country, as a state, as a city, and as families, we will get through this together.
Small businesses are working desperately to navigate staying afloat in these stormy waters. At CMM, one of the ways we have adapted is to switch around our publishing schedule due to the difficulty many local businesses are having in purchasing advertising right now, which is the engine of our business. While we will have the same number of magazines in 2020, we are combining the months of May and June into one issue instead of our usual combination of July and August.
Our job at CMM is to be a voice of inspiration and encouragement during these times. You can perhaps imagine how tricky it has been to create a visual product like the issue you are holding in your hands when our team couldn’t be in the same room. Our subscriptions, however, are surging like never before, which we interpret to be a strong plea for to us to keep working hard to produce our magazine. In striving to keep a regular production schedule, it simply couldn’t happen without our advertisers, so as you enjoy this issue, please share our heartfelt thanks for every business that is a part of bringing it to you.
We admire everyone in the community who is working so tirelessly to keep us safe — our doctors, nurses, police, first responders, grocery store and pharmacy workers — the list goes on, and we are so grateful. We care deeply about each one of our readers and clients, and we wish you well during these difficult times.