I have always been on “Team Breakout.”

I understood why a quarantine was necessary in March at the beginning of the pandemic.  We needed to flatten the curve so as not to put a catastrophic strain on our healthcare system. We also needed to buy time to figure out what was going on with this virus: we needed to understand its nature, figure out the major ways it is transmitted and how to treat it. (A vaccine is a long way off.) I went so far as to purchase a pulse oximeter for myself, just in case. (Look it up.)

My thinking changed a bit when I heard that hospitals were furloughing employees. That’s when I knew we also needed a long term plan. A friend of mine questioned whether I was too concerned about the Almighty Dollar. I will admit that economic concerns had me wondering about how we were dealing with all this. But there was more, so much more.

Mental Health. Man does not live on Zoom alone. (forgive the non-inclusive language – everyone is included in that statement) I don’t know about you but I am done with virtual meetings. It was fun once, but I am over it. We need social interaction. We need to see others in the flesh. That’s how God created us. That’s the point of the Incarnation. I realize that we may not be able to hug, high five or even shake hands like we used to, but we need each other, and not just on a computer screen. I think this is especially true about our young people. It has been good seeing kids hang out and ride bikes. (No parents! Another plus.) I appreciate what our Youth Minister, Mike Huggins has been doing meeting with the teenagers on Sunday evening. They need that for their mental health. I worry about what might happen a couple of years from now when the effect of all of this separation begins to sink in.

Physical Health. One of the things we have learned about Covid-19 is that it effects individuals in wild- ly different ways. One person may have symptoms of a cold, another may end up in ICU, another may have no symptoms at all and for another the virus is fatal. Much of this is based on how healthy you

are (not in 100% of the cases, but mainly). The bottom line is, the stronger your immune system, the better you will be able to handle the virus. There are three ways to improve your immune system: diet, exercise and sleep. Don’t dismiss the sleep component. Most teenagers and young adults are seriously sleep deprived and that leads to all sorts of bad things. Two quick ideas for better sleep: 1.) ban devic- es (cellphones, iPads, computers and TV’s) from the bedroom; 2.) have a set time to go to sleep. Some schools have already said that they are not going to have music class or gym in the next school year. I cannot tell you how incredibly short sighted I think that is. Music is good for your soul, but physical ac- tivity is vital for your body. Gym class is precisely what our children need at this time.

Obviously, we need open up rationally and with safety in mind. Face masks, social distancing, hand washing will not go away anytime soon. (I kinda hope hand washing is here to stay.) I worry that the cure may become worse than the illness. We need to be smart. We need to be compassionate.  We need to safeguard the vulnerable. We need to take care of ourselves. But, let’s face it, we also need to be out, living our lives. We need to both trust in God and be willing to do the work of public safety and health.

Father Kevin

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