It is important in this new age of Corona not to touch your face, and that’s not easy to do—dozens of times per day most of us do it. There is a clip somewhere of officials doing it even as they caution others not to. Trump quipped that he “hasn’t touched my face in weeks; I miss it,” and yet afterwards—why, there he is touching his face.
I started the following as a joke, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to think that it’s not so stupid after all:
You can avoid touching your face by wearing a mask—like a Halloween mask. What sort of a mask will you wear? I will walk about dressed as a teddy bear. How about you? And with that I posted an old picture of my brother dressed up for Halloween. (and I said this is my brother WITHOUT his mask because he had just beaten me in Scrabble)
What about a Guy Fawkes mask?
“Hey, great mask! You must be deeply concerned about injustice and have the courage to tackle it head-on even if it costs you your life! How admirable!!”
“Naw, I’m just trying not to touch my face on account of the Corona virus.”
Our people have shown themselves very proactive in this. A letter from HQ was read Thursday. It started out with how no one wants to start a panic, but for as long as the Coronavirus remains a threat, the group whose turn it is to clean the Kingdom Hall will also disinfect commonly touched surfaces, including seat railings, both before and after the meeting. Keep “physical greetings simple by avoiding hugs, kisses and handshakes, so please do not be offended if” someone declines normal contact. The verse was read about...
“Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.” (1 Corinthians 10:24)
Also the one about...
“The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself,But the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.” (Proverbs 22:3)
That one seems like it is read every time you turn around these days. Lots of things to be alert about, apparently.
Stay home if you’re sick—that was part of the letter, too. You can listen in on a telephone tie-in. Word has it that elders are prepared to tell ones that appear sick to go home. ‘Ask’ actually, not ‘tell,’ but they have a way of making an ask seem like a tell.
It is not hard—one just must remember to do certain things. It is greatly aided by people who are not quarrelsome by nature—their application of Bible principles makes them that way—and at the Hall today I was surprised at how quickly everyone took to the new routine. Jehovah’s Witnesses can be downright absurd with the amount of handshaking they do, and it was all replaced with elbow bumps & so forth. Someone forgot and approached me with hand outstretched. “What! Are you trying to get me killed?” I said. It’s an air of good-natured joking.
Things are changing fast. Two weeks ago for an upcoming Chinese circuit assembly, it was said not to wear masks so as not to stigmatize Chinese attendees. This week the entire assembly was cancelled. This morning I heard that all field service has been cancelled in New York City—people can do phone or letter writing but everything else is on hold. This may have to do with the fact that the governor declared a state of emergency the day before.
The morning before, at the meeting for field service, the one conducting said how some might not want to speak with us (more than usual) because of Corona. “Whatever you do,” was my comment, “don’t treat it as an ‘objection’ to ‘overcome.’ Corona may blow over or may deepen—we just don’t know yet. People do whatever they think they should—cut them slack for it.”
It’s not particularly scary for Witnesses because we have long had our heads geared up for this kind of thing. Even so, no one would say it’s a walk in the park. But you can’t help but think of people not so mentally prepared, those with families, especially. A website Drudge linked to a couple of weeks ago listed “ten plagues hitting the planet simultaneously.” It makes you think of those verses in Luke on how
“people will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth...but as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Luke 21:26-28)
I used to read that verse a lot, pointing to how the same things mean different things to different people so why not try to get your heads around the the viewpoint of ones who lift their heads up? But then HQ said it doesn’t really apply that way—it is yet for future events—but I can still say ‘it reminds me of’ can’t I? Is someone going to come along and say it doesn’t?
[Edit] Within 4-5 days of this post, public health officials were calling for the curtailing of all gatherings of over 50 people. Accordingly, all full congregation meetings as well as the public field ministry has been cancelled until further notice.]