More coronavirus reflections

Here is a coronavirus observation. There must be an awful lot of freezer space in our community. We’ve probably like most of our neighbors. We have a deep freezer in our refrigerator and another chest freezer in our basement. Neither are completely full at the moment, though we have a good supply of food that will last us quite a while. My observation is based on the fact that the freezers in the grocery store are nearly empty. I understand why there might be a run on frozen pizzas when people are stocking up to remain at home for a while. We don’t eat many frozen prepared foods, but the aisle with the TV dinners was empty. There weren’t even any boxes of frozen puff pastry or pie crusts in the store I visited yesterday. I got a small carton of egg whites, but it there were no eggs available. If the store is having to run all of those freezers and refrigerators with nothing in them, it must mean that there is an equal amount of empty space in freezers and refrigerators around town on a normal day.

It is our habit to shop once a week for groceries with an occasional stop at the store to pick up a forgotten item during the week. With social distancing, we are trying to only make one trip to the store each week. Monday is our day off from work, so it has become our grocery shopping day. We don’t seem to be in a panic for anything in particular, so I went to the store in the middle of the afternoon, when it wouldn’t be so full of people. Keeping my distance in the store was easy. There were quite a few customers, but fewer than would be the case earlier in the day. The store had a good supply of fresh chicken, so I brought one home. We can get quite few meals out of a chicken. I was able to get everything on my list except eggs. There was a good supply of cabbage, which is a vegetable that keeps really well.

While I was out and about, I took a bicycle ride through the city’s parks. It was a beautiful day yesterday and there were quite a few people out enjoying the weather. Those walking, biking, skateboarding and roller blading on the pathways were being respectful and keeping their distance. Tennis seemed like a good game to get exercise while maintaining distance. Basketball players weren’t observing the six-foot separation rule, however. A friend who was also out for a bicycle ride stopped to visit with me as I was loading the bike onto the rack on the car. We kept the car between us as we visited, easily maintaining the recommended separation.

Observing the recommended separation doesn’t have to mean staying in one’s home all the time, at least not in our city.

One of the gifts of this new way of life is that I am spending more time at home in the evenings. I don’t have many meetings to attend. Last evening I sat down and hand wrote letters to three of our grandchildren. I don’t hand write many letters any more and the oldest of our three is a third-grader so I printed, working hard to keep straight lines and making my letters easy for a young reader to read. It is a skill I once had, but one that I don’t practice much these days. I do most of my writing at the keyboard of a computer. I enjoyed slowing down to make the letters carefully. It allowed me to think about each grandchild as an individual and think of things to write. Although we talk to them regularly over Skype, we are encouraging them to write letters. It is a good way for them to practice language skills during the time that they are home from school. Only one attends public school. The middle one is in a preschool and the youngest is still at home. So we’ll probably get pictures mostly, with a letter from the oldest, who will probably be the one to read the letters to his sisters. At any rate it is fun to have a slower way of communicating. It encourages thoughtfulness and reflection.

This spring is not unfolding the way we expected. The “we” in that sentence refers to almost everyone in the world, I suspect. Of course it isn’t spring in all parts of the world. For those south of the equator it is autumn. I think it might be even more difficult to deal with this virus and its effects if one were going into autumn with winter looming ahead.

We are all connected. The Pandemic is a reminder that all humans share the quality of mortality. We are all vulnerable. We all experience anxiety and fear. We all are capable of worrying in ways that are destructive to our mental health. We are all looking for ways to keep our spirits up. My usual technique, keeping very busy and working very hard, may not be the best solution for times when we are being asked to remain at home and keep our distance from others. Last week was filled with learning a whole bunch of new skills. This week I may be able to put some of those skills to work with regular Facebook live sessions. I’ve been writing out more prayers and trying to find just the right words to encourage those I serve. I’ve been trying to imagine who is looking at our videos, as it is a different congregation than our face-to-face crowd. It feels like the whole definition of church is being changed, and I don’t know what the new normal will be.

So, like those around me, I’m a bit restless. It will be interesting to see what today will bring. I feel like I’m writing too much about the virus in my journal, but that seems to be the topic of the day.

Be careful out there.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!