I feel it's a bit of a cheek to talk about "coping with the crisis". After all, we live in a nice flat in a nice city where there is food and good medical care, we can work from home and we are not ill. What is there to cope with?
On the other hand we are confined to our flat except for sorties for food and medical care, and for one hour of exercise to be taken within one kilometre of our flat. We are confined.
Add to that the fact that when we go out we must be careful not to touch our faces, to keep our distance from people and to wash our hands thoroughly on our return. Yesterday I washed my hands, my face and the door handles.
In addition we see the mounting death toll and the numbers sick both here and in the UK, and also the rising threat in other countries of the world where many of our friends and colleagues work. How do we cope?
1) We limit our exposure to the news. We catch up first thing in the morning, and that's enough. I look at the official French corona virus website - at present we have almost 20,000 confirmed cases in France and close to 900 deaths. In our region, Nouvelle Aquitaine, there have been almost 700 confirmed cases. In the evening we check on the government announcements. Apart from that we keep away from the news.
2) We're fighting the virus with baking soda. By which I mean, we're baking. I found an easy chocolate cake recipe so yesterday and today we have chocolate cake. Pat made scones and naan bread. Catrin made cookies. I'm looking forward to trying a honey and oatmeal loaf.
Incidentally there's been a lot of talk about an anti-malarial drug called chloroquine which seems effective against the corona virus. Apparently this is because one group of the molecule has basic tendenciies (it's kind of alkaline) and so it interferes with the enzyme whish replicates the viral rna. Go figure!
3) We're not watching as much TV as we anticipated. But we are reading more.
4) I started learning modern Greek. I expect I'll start other things, too.
5) We remember that our world is deserving of God's judgement. Christians always wrestle in times of plague. Why do they come, if God is good? Well one reason is because we are not very good. We live day to day in a society where children are sacrificed to expediency or to economic advantage, whether we're thinking of aborting the unborn, abusing and neglecting our own children or enslaving and exploiting the chidlren of the world to support our opulent lifestyles. And that's just the start. That's why Christians look at economic shutdown and remember that much or our economic wealth is ill-gotten filthy lucre and we deserve to take time out and to rethink - and to repent.
6) We remember that God is good. Psalm 103 reminds us that his anger can flare up but he equally quickly remembers mercy and patience, and that he cares for us as a father cares for his children. That's why as we are sad about the world system we made we are glad that the world God made is resilient and fruitful - fish are moving back into the Venice canals - and that God has planned for us a time after the corona virus. May we learn valuable lessons.
7) We mourn the dreadful numbers of dead. Fine people, the best, fall prey to the virus. A man who delivered food to supermarkets. The doctor who made the first alert cry. Countless families weep and cannot bury their dead loved ones. We weep too as we think of them.
8) We pray for our authorities and we keep the guidelines and instruuctions they issue. My confinement may save not only my life but also the life of elderly or infirm people who I don't even know.
9) We look after our physical and mental health. Pat and Catrin do weights in the morning. I do physical jerks on the balcony (running on the spot, high knees, star jumps, squats, lunges, you know the kind of thing) and I run up and down the stairs of the apartment block, carefully. We tell each other jokes and listen to music. We try to find films or series.
10) We get on with our work. Zoom, Skype and Facebook enable us to keep in touch with people and to continue with much of the work we are engaged in, though not all. I'm lucky to have an office where I can work. Pat and Catrin work in the bedrooms, partly becuse Catrin is sleeping in the room Pat uses for her office.
That's enough for now.