The Strange Battle of Staying Home, by Haley Stewart

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A midsection of mother with two small children indoors in kitchen, cooking.

By Haley Stewart, Public Discourse, March 30, 2020

I’ve never been one for battle stories, and I religiously avoid films about war. It’s not because I can’t take the violence; I just can’t imagine myself in combat. I can’t relate or connect with tales of swordplay, grenades, or trench warfare. But I’ve always been drawn to stories of the home front during war, the stories of people who are trying to keep the good, the true, and the beautiful alive when everything has been turned upside down by tragedy. How does the human heart bear the anxiety of loved ones constantly in danger? How does the human spirit persist when the duration of suffering is unknown? Could I survive that kind of powerlessness in the face of a great terror? Would I unravel?

Well, here I am now, with a pandemic sweeping away all traces of normalcy, and I’m doing my fair share of unraveling. I’m not in the trenches. I’m not a heroic healthcare worker risking exposure in order to save lives, experiencing the trauma of an overwhelmed and ill-equipped system collapsing around them. I’m not a brilliant scientist racing against the clock to find a vaccine. I am not a priest offering anointing of the sick to those gravely ill with the virus. I am not being asked to make any of those extraordinary sacrifices. I’m just in my house with an internet connection and my family. We have plenty of food, and so far—praise God—we are healthy. I’m not on the front lines of this battle against a faceless enemy. ….

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