I work at a Publix grocery store during the COVID19 crisis. My coworkers and I are at risk of infection. The rush for supplies emptied shelves and our store limited the number of paper goods and cleaning supplies to two per item and then reduced it to one per item. The store ran out of wipes for customers to use when they enter the store, so we have been cleaning the cart handles for them. There have been conflicts and complaints among customers and with management. I know people are under stress and some are extremely anxious.

Walton County reported its first confirmed infection March 18. This made the seriousness of the crisis more local than before. The Walton County Commissioners approved an immediate closure of all public beaches for 30 days that started March 19. This severely impacted the local businesses that depend on Spring school break vacationers in March and April. The economic ramifications of closures and quarantine are distressing to say the least.

There are no easy solutions, but each of us can play a role in making lemonade out of the global lemon we’re living with right now. Let’s begin by acknowledging increased fear and anxiety. Now is a good time to evaluate our level of these emotions. I know I have them, but I’m not living with the same kind of vulnerability that many others live with. One morning I asked my wife if there were other things we should do to protect ourselves.  We are cleaning our hands when we enter the house. She works at the local hospital, so we are both showering when we get home from our work sites.

We also can consider the intellectual, spiritual, financial and social resources that are at hand. Our attitudes are important and each of these resources play a role in adjusting our attitudes to help us face our circumstances with courage, hope, patience and faith. Concerning finances, we need to communicate with the financial institutions and businesses that provide services we depend upon. Report to them about being out of work or laid off.  Ask to rework financial obligations. Contact appropriate non-profits for counsel, guidance or assistance.

A friend and former coworker, Kate Baird, listed four things she was going to do in the COVID19 crisis that touch on social, self-care and spiritual enrichment:

  1. I’m going to stop the TV show and get hugs from my family.
  2. I’m going to get to bed early, read scripture and something fun.
  3. I’m going to pray Psalms 4:8[1] and go to sleep.
  4. I’m going to wake up and thank God for another day.[2]

Finding ways to be content in the crisis is what the new normal requires. Life simply isn’t the same and will never be the same. Contentment is possible in crisis and change. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”[3] The ‘him’ in the last line is Jesus Christ. He doesn’t promise riches or abundance, but he does work in us strength in whatever circumstances we are in. Waiting is an exhausting work and that is what all of us are doing whether we’re working or schooling at home. Strength and contentment in the waiting are gifts Jesus Christ gives us as we trust him and help one another while we wait for the closures and quarantine to cease. Please share what is giving you strength in the waiting and what contentment looks likes for you. Thank you.

 


[1] “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make we dwell in safety.”(NIV)
[2] March 19 Facebook post. Used with permission.
[3] Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV).

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