by Nancy Nolan
Last Thursday, I finally decided to go to Kroger to stock up on essentials. For a long time, this Coronavirus didn’t feel like an emergency; and then, when it did, it didn’t particularly feel like MY emergency. We’re fine, we’re healthy, things would right themselves in due time.
Then, one of my clients decided to cancel a public event. I thought she was overreacting, but, as she is 91, I respected her decision. A day later, the venue where she was scheduled to appear announced they were closing their doors for the foreseeable future. Then, the rest of the world quickly followed suit: our churches, sporting events, restaurants, gyms—now, even Ohio primary polls.
So, I went to Kroger. The parking lot was packed. The store was bustling. Shelves were thinning, and the paper product aisle was bare. The lines were longer than at Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve. I saw some customers chatting cheerily together as we waited in line, a “we’re all in this together” sort of vibe.
Others looked, frankly, annoyed. Or frightened, or maybe worried. Certainly determined. In a time of uncertainly, what could feel better than seeing that coveted pack of toilet paper in your shopping cart?
To the extent we are able to control our environment, it’s not a bad idea to have a plan and to execute it. So, I stocked up on enough food to keep us going for a week or two, including a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef for my Irish husband. The only St. Paddy’s Day parade we’ll be attending will be the one in our kitchen.
God doesn’t promise us certainty about life’s daily circumstances: not the toilet paper or hand sanitizer, not safety from natural disaster or unforeseen challenges. What He does promise is forgiveness, and salvation in an abundant life filled with Christ.
In these challenging times, when we cannot convene in public or visit with friends or even family, it’s tempting to lose heart, to forget that God is with us. But He is! Joshua (1:9) said: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Keep in mind that there is still much we can do to help one another:
A quick phone call or mailed greeting card can bring smiles.
The new St. B prayer line option is a great way to share your compassion.
Virtual book groups, prayer circles, or movie sharing can be creative outlets for the more tech savvy among us.
Offering to run an errand for the less mobile among us will be so appreciated, and can be done with minimal hazard, using common sense, health-conscious practices.
Another suggestion: Tune in to Pastor Jason’s daily morning prayer, accessible on St. B’s Facebook page. They start at 9:30 each morning, last about 15 minutes, and are a great way to find a measure of peace, to focus on the many blessings we share, and to remember God’s love for all of us. This Friday (March 20), Pastor Jason will lead a morning prayer showing us how to use Episcopal prayer beads, which should be really interesting.
Consider tuning in.