Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
Blog Number 33
September 28, 2020
“We live in the worst times ever.”
An individual recently told me that “we live in the worst times ever.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I certainly agree that we are in difficult times. I have never seen a disease spread so quickly in my lifetime. Certainly, forty years ago we had the AID’s epidemic. People contracted it and died quite quickly. Yet, that disease was not air-borne and remained outside the general population. We live in difficult and scary times but I don’t believe that we live in “the worst time ever.”
My grandmother was a young woman of 18 when the flu of 1918 struck the world. Our living conditions were, for most of us in that era, far different than they are today. Likewise, our medical knowledge and techniques were primitive compared to our modern medicine. As bad as Covid-19 is to us, the flu of 1918 was far worse.
In the last 100 years, the population of our nation has tripled. It was 103 million in 1918. Now it is 331 million. In 1918, our country saw 675,000 deaths from the flu. At this point, the United States has seen 200,000 deaths. All other things being equal, with a population size that tripled, I would expect our death rate to be three times that of that of 1918. Instead, it is only one third of the number. Do you still think that we live in the worst times ever?
We have been forced to self-quarantine. It is relatively easy for us to do that. Many of us live in one family houses. Even those in apartments or two-family houses can quarantine. In 1918 relatively few people could do this. Many people lived in tenements. Some were so overcrowded that dozens of people would co-habitat and sleep in shifts, sharing the same mattresses and sheets. Literally, in some tenements, hundreds of people would share lavatory. Social distancing was not something that these folks were able to do. Do you still think that we live in the worst times ever?
I am certainly not minimizing how bad Covid-19 is. Our lives have been very different during the last six months. Covid-19 has forced us be distant and alter our lifestyles. That makes us uncomfortable. I don’t like it. Also, many of us know people who have died from Covid-19. As many of you know, two of my beloved mentors died from this illness. I am still sad because of this. And yet, do I live in the worst time ever? Not even close!
Our ancestors endured worse conditions than we live in. If you are really upset by our living conditions, would you rather have lived in 1918? Probably most of us would not. Despite what is going on in our lives. Let us be grateful that we live when we do with the medicine and living conditions that we have. Compared to the centuries that before us, we live in about the best times ever. Let us all be thankful to God and live like grateful people.