Toilet Paper, Social Distancing, and Uncertainty

To say this has been a weird week is an understatement! Surreal is the word I keep hearing.

I read an article where the journalist was interviewing people at a popular warehouse store asking them why they were buying so much toilet paper. The prominent answer? Because everyone else is. WHAT? Copycat buying started by someone deciding they might run out of toilet paper during a possible quarantine set off a national run on now all paper products.

My daughter saw a woman make a teenage cashier cry at a nearby store because the store had a limit on the number of packages of toilet paper a person could buy! This woman created such a scene that the store manager had to get involved. There have been reports of threats and fights and other craziness.

The governor of Ohio has in a few days mandated social distancing by limiting all gatherings to less than 100, closing schools (maybe for the remainder of the school year), and now closing all eat-in bars and restaurants. Restaurants can deliver and provide drive-thru and carry-out only.

There is no question this is an uncertain time and we are in unprecedented territory.

The fear is palpable. Even at the home improvement store where I get materials for my business you can sense the edge that people are walking. There is suspicion and fear. Panic and desperation are just under the surface.

Regardless of where each of us finds ourselves on the spectrum of paranoid to annoyed with it all, this is our reality. Whether or not you believe the threat to be real, these things are happening. However you feel politically, the government is making decisions that affect all of us.

I do not join the plethora of sudden infectious disease experts on social media or newly christened soothsayers making their predictions and edicts. I simply have a couple thoughts for us during this time.


Reacting in fear takes us to a dark place. Panic takes us tio an even darker place. People often die when there is panic.

Fear leads us to irrational, sporadic, and even dangerous behavior. Fear causes us to think even more selfishly. It leads us to inward thinking and focus. Fear skews perspective. It dehumanizes us and those around us. Fear too often tends toward destruction.

There is a difference between fear and caution.

It is good to take precautions and be smart. Wisdom helps us make good decisions and respond to situations well.

  • Fear reacts. Caution prepares and responds.
  • Fear sees others as enemies. Caution sees others as equals.
  • Fear is selfish. Caution is wisely generous.
  • Fear looks within. Caution looks up and out.
  • Fear is hyper-kinetic. Caution is intentional and purposeful.

Panic and fear will not solve this situation or bring helpful action. They will only lead to more problems and difficulty. History has never looked at fear and panic with positivity. We’ve never commended anyone for fear and panic.

The solutions, the resolve, the answers, the heroes have come from a place of courage. When using caution and wisdom, people have been able to step forward and make a difference even in fearful times. Strength is not a gift, it is a choice. Courage is not limited to a few, it is available to all.


So let’s be in this together. Let’s be human. Let’s set aside labels and divides to raise up and overcome the fear and panic. Generations before us time and time again have overcome pandemics and war and atrocities and disasters and we can also! We can overcome this and take the tragedy and come out the other side better, wiser, and more unified than ever!

Let’s protect the vulnerable and watch out for those that we can. Let’s show kindness and be polite. Let’s be selfless instead of selfish. Let’s bring comfort to others. Let’s be smart and intentional. Let’s find the good in ourselves and each other and magnify that.

Social distancing does not mean closed-in isolation. As crazy as this time and as much as we sometimes lament technology, it is an amazing time that when we should keep some physical distance we have the ability to stay connected and close. We can still build community. In fact, we can do so better as we have common ground on which to build!

We. Are. In. This. Together.


You can experience peace. You can find rest even in this craziness. I believe that peace is found in Jesus and the life He exemplified.

I also believe that peace is a result of choice. Choosing to find the good and look up. Choosing to look ahead. Choosing to not look inward. Choosing to enjoy the moment that is happening now. Choosing to be present. Choosing to love. Choosing to do what we can. Choosing to help others. Choosing to find beauty each day in nature, music, art, humanity. Choosing to live.


I stood in the parking lot of the gym I go to this morning for a minute and enjoyed the sunrise. I intentionally did not photograph it as I wanted to be fully in the moment and not corrupt it right then. The picture above is from that same parking lot but on a different day.

It was beautiful. It was life giving. It was a great reminder that it is a new day. The sunrise doesn’t care what the governor just announced or what the media has reported.

The sunrise happens.

The sunrise will happen again tomorrow and give us a new opportunity for a new day!

Fear is not the answer. We are in this together. Peace is possible. The sun rose today and will rise tomorrow.

So let’s live and make it the best we can while we can!


  1. As always Shane you sure something that is worth reading and responding. I hope this is shared and everybody’s social media. Great job

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