During the months of January and February, I paid loose attention to the news. I heard about a virus in China and assumed it was like the viral outbreaks we’ve seen in the past, like MERS, SARS, and Ebola. All of them had little effect on my day-to-day life outside of praying for those affected and following the news reports.
By the first week of March, I realized that COVID-19 was something different. Friends reached out asking me if I heard about coronavirus and the havoc it caused in China and now other parts of the world. Like many of us, I thought, “Sure, but it’s not that big of a deal though. It’ll pass.” Except it was a big deal, and I had no idea it would become a global pandemic of this proportion. I hadn’t kept up with all the warnings and updates. I was in my own world, preparing for the release of my ninth album, getting final features from A-list artists, planning a book tour, and engrossed in my own ecosystem.
All the planning and strategy drastically changed overnight! It started off slow for me. First a friend in Seattle texted saying things were crazy up there. We had a couple discussions in the studio about it; I read a headline or two about how quickly it was spreading in Italy.
Then it hit home! A festival I was performing at out West was canceled! My business manager called and cautioned me not to panic. Panic? Wait, what is going on?! What planet is this?!
Now tuned in, the next few days we all received constant updates, increasing our anxiety. Our kids’ school closed, two months of shows were canceled, and I was trying to calm scared family members. My 92-year-old grandmother is reorganizing her life so she can keep it.
At first, it overwhelmed me! It was too much to deal with. Then I stopped and prayed. It was time to embrace a new normal. For my family, for myself, and my team at Reach Records, I had to be calm and focused. I had to commit my faith completely to God and rely on my spiritual foundation to make clear decisions.
It occurred to me that if there is ever a time people needed hope and encouragement, this was that time. It was like a light bulb went off and I realized that though I had some new personal challenges to deal with, so did the rest of the world. Those experiencing homelessness, single parents, hourly workers, folks with pre-existing health issues, small business owners, basically all of us -- this is a global pandemic.
The temptation to give in to anxiety and fear is real but has never created solutions. Those who have historically survived wars, recessions, and plagues tell of people leaning in, people helping each other.
I’ve been following COVID-19 closely since it’s become a pandemic and I want to remind people THIS IS NOT THE END!
Photo credit https://www.facebook.com/Lecrae/photos/a.425143095221/10151787011850222/?type=3&theater