I had a different post scheduled this morning.
But to continue regularly scheduled content on this anything-but-regular Monday morning seemed…wrong. We’re living in a globally unprecedented moment, and it doesn’t do justice to the gravity and solemnity of the situation to carry on as usual. So I won’t, for now.
Last night, my husband and I went to Walmart at 10 pm after a tip off from a friend about shortages and upcoming closures. We’re grateful, of course, but it was the first time in all this turmoil that my heart started threatening me with rumblings of fear. We stocked up on rice and beans a few weeks ago when the rumors had started about the spread of coronavirus. Our plan was to keep buying fresh food until the fresh food stopped being available, if that were to happen.
This is what Walmart looked like in a NW Chicago suburb at 10 pm on Sunday, March 15th.
By the time we left the store, my legs were shaking. The store wasn’t crowded, but as we passed each neighboring shopping cart, its wide-eyed and pale-faced driver asked us nervous questions, in muted voices:
“Where did you find the eggs, are there any left?“
“I just can’t believe that there isn’t any milk. I wasn’t worried, but then my sister called and told me there was no milk.“
“I just got here and, um, do you know if there are any more potatoes?“
No. There weren’t anymore potatoes. I looked.
My husband asked me what we needed celery for, as I put some in the cart. We don’t usually buy celery.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll eat it. I just feel like we should buy it.”
We also bought ice cream and oranges. The store was out of Oreos, so we didn’t buy those.
As a Christian, I don’t know what I’m afraid of. It’s not dying — I know where I’m going. [Of course, I’d love to stay alive, and I’d prefer to not contract the virus. But if push comes to shove, eternity is covered. (Romans 8:1)] But I think what scares me is the disruption to my normal life. And yet here I am, writing a blog post while on shift at my clinic, which has yet to close despite an empty schedule. It’s an eerie sort of anticipation: nothing has changed, but the air is buzzing with a sense of “about to.” Our health center is not equipped for coronavirus. We don’t have tests. We don’t have protective equipment for the providers. We don’t have the infrastructure in place to handle a pandemic. Yet, here we are. And here I am, writing.
My blog is about food, mostly: disordered eating, nutrition/lifestyle concerns, recovery, a little bit about functional medicine and a few recipes. I offer insight into health and healing, tips for recovery and restoring the food-body relationship. But I’m not equipped to teach about a world where there’s no more food at grocery stores, when daily life is completely disrupted, when immediate safety is of more of a concern than holistic well-being. I don’t know what to say to encourage someone in the uneasiness of trying to recover in a world that is on the brink of shutting down. Because I’ve never had to help anyone through it before, and I’ve never had to do it myself. I’ve seen it briefly through travel around the world. But I’m humbled to admit that I’ve never lived in it. Because I was born into privilege.
The only thing I have to offer is the encouragement of faith. In crisis, it’s the only place I know to turn. Everything else in which I trust — finances, food, the illusion of stability and control — is being stripped away, bit by bit, and exposing the vulnerable places in my heart that have yet to be filled by my faith. In such a time as this, my prayer is for the peace of Christ to calm, guide, and restore me. And you. And the world.
In a broken, hurting world, we can pray. And when prayer gives us clarity, we can help as we are led.