A spring ritual is servicing my automobile. Why should this spring be any different? So I made an appointment and took it to the service department of my favorite dealer where I have always enjoyed hanging out for a couple of hours, eating their fruit and pastries and drinking their fancy coffee – all for free. Man, was I in for a shock.

There were multiple TVs but the comfy chairs had been replaced with easy to clean vinyl. The most cutting surprise was that the coffee area was out of service and the fruit and pastry display area was empty. This pandemic is truly changing and making a mess of the way we live.

One of the most important changes that I have experienced is where I look for information which will help me understand and cope with the virus which is active among us and for which we have few known defenses.

I have never been a fan of talk show “doctors” Oz and Phil. They are not particularly helpful with the watered down, popularized version of information which they give out. They seem not to know the difference between COVID-19 and cancer or the common flu.

The lesson there for me is to continue my own education. Three weeks ago, I could not have given a good definition of my immune system. Now I can and it helps me understand why fighting this particular virus is so difficult and why living as we have been used to will not be possible until we have a treatment and a vaccination and know a lot more about this particular virus than we do now.

Neither am I a fan of others who write and speak as if they are experts and offer to lead us down a path which is not only unknown but which could also be disastrous. For instance, what will be the result if we try to get back to life as it was before the virus without knowing what the manifestations of the virus are? Does it occur naturally in the environment or is it a manufactured escapee from a laboratory?

Nor do I want to be a purveyor of doom and gloom. There are examples of heroic living which come from the writings of other people who have lived in circumstances and events which were every bit as daunting as ours.

I leave you with the encouraging words from a person of faith who wrote from a prison cell around 60 A.D.:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything present your prayers to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds …”

Let us be together in this challenging time.

Jim McKinney is a resident of downtown Leavenworth.