The COVID Effect

Recent announcements of the ostensible availability of coronavirus vaccines had a predictable knee-jerk effect on everything, including the stock market: Shares of anything that smacked of work from home (WFH), stay at home (SAH), or work through fiascos (WTF) sold like proverbial hot cakes, including but by no means limited to home furnishings from Wayfair; home-improvement goods and services from Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Masco (owner of everything from Behr Paints to Delta Faucets); and even the recently ubiquitous online conferencing platform, Zoom.

Call me skeptical: Vaccines might be available now, but I don’t see them being ubiquitous any time soon. Nor do I see commercial real estate bouncing back overnight, home sales slowing, home-renovation projects being forgone, or people who’ve become comfortable — and comfortably productive — at home rushing to get back into their cars, back out on the roads, and back into claustrophobia-inducing cubicles or privacy-eliminating open office spaces. People can change a lot of habits in nine months.

Deep Breaths

Notwithstanding the fact that patience is in shorter supply than toilet paper was in March and April, we need to give this some air. Will things change? Yes. They always do. Will things revert to being exactly the way they were before the pandemic? No. They can’t. Will we find our way, no matter what happens? Yes. We always do. Can we know exactly what that will look like? No. Not without a crystal ball and a Ouija Board. Should we continue doing business as well as we can? Yes. It’s the only thing we can do and the only thing that makes any sense. Should we have faith? Yes. As they say in Brooklyn, “It couldn’t hoit.”

The Dutch writer and theologian, Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) once said this:

The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

I suppose that’s possible. But I prefer to believe that in living situations out to the full, we create things that had been hidden before situations precipitated our need to create them. I also believe that those who participated in a stock-share fire sale after coronavirus vaccines were announced were aware of one saying — “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today” — but not another: “Patience is a virtue.”

I’d rather be successfully patient than impulsively not.

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