Getting Ready for the Future

In the grocery store on Friday afternoon. It was Friday the 13th. The day local children found out they would have 10 “snow days” without snow. It was 62 degrees outside. A lucky day?

It was unlike any other trip to the grocery store in my memory, even at Christmas, even before an actual big snowstorm.

Not a roll of toilet paper to be seen. A lone, dented can of green beans sat on a shelf whose contents had been reduced to peas, corn, and some Lima beans. I was not surprised to see the canned peas remained. My husband was not surprised to see Lima beans left behind.

This event–the pandemic of 2020–is bigger than Y2K was because we knew Y2K was coming. We had months to load up on canned goods and toilet paper then. But Y2K never played out.

The coronavirus sneaked up on us in the last few weeks. And while Y2K could have meant global disruption, this one still seemed far away even as it makes its way closer and closer to home.

What surprised me the most at the store was the mood. It was like a holiday. I know it hasn’t been that way everywhere else. This store had no more toilet paper to fight over. But no one seemed to be in a fighting mood.

The checkout lady was in a chipper mood–even as she told me, “It’s been like this for three days.” She must have been exhausted–yet she seemed energized.

The kids–it was late afternoon–already knew they would have no school for two whole weeks. We haven’t had a snow day this year, not even a delay. And now a two-week break. It’s one we won’t have to make up because it’s an emergency. For kids, it’s like an extremely late, very nice Christmas gift.

The attitude within the store smacked of joy. People laughed. They seemed to be getting in one more party–one big community social event–before solitude descends upon us–but somehow not a solitude to regret or begrudge.

There have been no cases of coronavirus confirmed in our area. Yet.

Yet we know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of time. So how do we handle this time?

My own class of high school students received no holiday from me. I assigned work for them to do at home–just in case. And now just in case has come to pass. Most of them are preparing for a high-stakes test–the Advanced Placement test.

The test won’t care that they missed school for two weeks. The test won’t care that they lived a piece of history that won’t require them to make up the days–make-up days that ironically would happen after the test.

There’s a moment in the movie A Quiet Place that comes back to me. Invading monsters kill anything that makes noise. Yet a mother silently teaches her son math. She prepares him for the future even while death looms on the doorstep.

We don’t teach for diversion as impending disaster awaits. We teach to prepare for what will come. For whatever will come.

So extended spring vacation or no, my students will face this test. Success or failure on test day will not significantly affect their lives. Success is encouraging and there are perks–like perhaps getting college credit. Not getting the score you hoped for is disappointing. But either way, we move on to the next test life will provide.

And they will face bigger tests. Real-life trials that may affect them deeply.

When they face those trials, I hope they will find the spirit I saw in a crowd of people in a grocery store getting ready for a challenge that has slowly surrounded us and seems destined to invade our smaller world.

It’s the spirit I hope we all choose.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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18 Replies to “Getting Ready for the Future”

  1. I love watching the world respond with love, compassion, mercy, and kindness even during times of trial and fear. God is good ALL THE TIME! God bless you, Nancy!

    1. I was very encouraged about my community after hearing about the toilet paper wars in a few places. God really, truly is good all the time. Thanks, Jessica, and God bless!

  2. There have been many posts on our neighborhood message board alerting people who are available to help with grocery pickup, etc. I am going to mail cards to a nursing home. The nursing home is in quarantine, but the letter carrier can leave the mail at the front desk.

  3. I was just telling my wife tonight that this pandemic is turning our boys (the ones out of the house) into more mature adults. I think even us adults are learning and growing. I hope our hearts turn to Jesus and the hope He gives.

    1. I agree, Stephen. This event reminds me of my mother talking about what the Great Depression was like. We hope, of course, that this event will be short-lived, unlike that one. But the sense that the whole nation is in this one. We are so divided, but we are all in this situation. I hope it makes more of us grow up in that way. Thanks and God bless!

  4. It is such an interesting time to observe the way people respond in a crisis. For me, I am reminded of the movie the Titanic and then scenes when the ship was going down. Some people became selfish and shoved people out of the way to claim a spot in the life boat and others were heroic and helped people into the life boats. I pray that more of us can rise and reach out to support others in this unsettled and uncertain time. It is encouraging every time we witness Love in action.

  5. Where I live, cases of Coronavirus have been doubling daily. Just yesterday, there was 36 confirmed cases. Today, there are 72 cases confirmed. The Governor has declared any meeting over 10 people is no longer allowed. What looked like a long Spring break is now a study online program. as schools are shut for the remaining part of the school year. Parents will be forced to be “homeschoolers,” temporarily. Musicals are canceled. The Junior Prom will probably be canceled, too. These are days which will be written about in history books. So the question is, how will you make history?

  6. This is a time for the church to stand up and make a difference with our attitudes during this crisis. Thanks for reminding us to be like Christ.

  7. Nancy, enjoyed your description of the store’s spirit of joy! We have confirmed cases here, so while we practice social distancing, and we take safety precautions, may we be reminded to check on our family members and neighbors and serve with joy however we can.

    1. It’s not officially here yet. It has arrived in one county over. Some people just don’t get that they need to be wary and careful. Thanks for reading, Karen. God bless!

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