Cherish the Moments

March 30, covid day number ??  does it really matter what number?  It’s hectic and slow all at once. Time is a funny thing. Looking through my ‘saved to be read later’ posts from friends, Facebook and LinkedIn, I found one talking about setting up a business model based on what people are willing to pay for … and working retail, I’m curious.

One of the main things noted is TIME (put into larger font and bolded). We value time … that’s why we want faster, better, more … so at the end we can have TIME. I’ve been watching the movement and flow of people these past few weeks. The panic, scrambling to grab more than the next guy before it’s all gone. The dairy and frozen crew trying to figure out where to put excess items that came in after being cleared out, unpredictable now becomes unshelveable. And what do we do with the wall of toilet paper that appeared yesterday as computer ordering systems try to reorient themselves?  That at least can live in the aisles, blocking views for people trying to practice distancing and happening  on each other suddenly as they reach a turn. There was talk of bringing freezer trucks to hold overflow.

How is it we moved so quickly from normal to this? Did TIME know, see it coming? Was it always there, just WE didn’t know? Or is TIME something blind, feeling its way, knowing only what’s in approachable distancing at it goes?

Part of me likes this forced slow pace. A little girl in me looks back, remembers when nothing was something to do. When sitting on my porch or in the window … watching … was a quiet moment thing. When walking slowly and nodding at others on the opposite side of the street was a favourite pastime for my grandpa and me. When quietly folding laundry by the TV was an asked for job.

People still come out to my work, pick up the necessary and unnecessary groceries. Some thank me for doing my job. Some say I’m brave. Yesterday a man told me I’m a warrior. Do they know, we often are in the job I do? We see it all. Seemingly simple, working in retail, it’s a multi-layered role I’m proud to fill. Knowing that is something I will thank this time for giving me. I’ve said every day that this brings out the best and worst in us, lets us see what we really are, where our struggles lie and how we handle them.

I have an advantage, if you can call it that – crisis is a known place for me. Remnants of both the fears and strengths that moved me day by day under abuse are still there; the worst hopefully fading, the best being polished to be pulled out in time of need. And there hidden among them, a jewel – pride in knowing I stand strong in the midst of crisis, leading others even in the ‘simple’ job I do, letting my ability to stay calm and smile bring hope and light to a place that feels dark and frightening to so many. It makes me smile. I am proud of my job.

Today and tomorrow, like yesterday will bring things I didn’t see coming. It may bring things I don’t want to do, but yesterday and the yesterdays before taught me well. I’ll measure the time like a slow song, continue to do my job well, and smile to bring light to the moment. The little things we do become great things if we do them enough.

I’ll remember. Live slowly. Don’t rush. Cherish the moments.

 

 

Ides of March … where will you take me?

The world is rushing by this year, my year of anticipation … good things to come. Growth. Art. Trusting in self expression. I haven’t ignored those things. I did follow through on my goal of submitting some pieces to a mental health Art Gala. But, then the world came crashing down and the builders, the inventors, the optimists and engineers, in all walks of life, are putting it back together. Meanwhile, those of us willing to venture on in trades deemed ‘essential’ try to hold it all together.

In the wild this looks like chaos. Pirates and schemers, then fools and fearing, take centre stage, briefly I hope, while the brave and desperate struggle on bearing the load. Love, grace, kindness are qualities of life in these times. There are so many working to bring hope.

I’m not sure where I fit. My job is front line, monitoring and managing retail lines, encouraging and frustrating shoppers in turn. Some need the encouragement, others want to take more than their share. I get both sides of the feedback, not always in polite turns. But I come from difficult times, lived in abuse quite a while, so it’s not all unfamiliar or as shocking as it could be. Still there are days …. I sing or I cry. Both are gifts to myself. Expressions of dignity saying I’m here, I’m alive. I made it through all the tough years and I’ll make it through this. Hope is life. It’s the one true thing. I’ve learned to listen, to be open, and in my darkest moments, if I pause and look up, there is always someone willing to share some hope or some laughter. A reason to smile.

I have quirky humour, it helps. Not sure why, but ‘Ides of March’ came to mind writing this. I looked it up – that and the date.  March 15th … Shakespeare’s reminder, a bad day for Caesar, and one that caught my quirk on the Lenten calendar. Key quotes for March 15th this Lenten year:

The Google note said – https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts  John 4:15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” It caught my eye and curiosity. It fits my day and it’s demands. So I looked. Read that, and a second, Exodus 17:2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?”

Oh dear … water, water, where’s the water?  Again, I have to smile. I’m so sorry Moses. Today, I know how you feel.