Gina Moore

It’s been an intense past few weeks.

While consignment sale season is always super-busy for me, the spring event is over, and I’m thankful to have gotten it in under the wire with the current state of affairs and closures. But as I’ve tried to catch up at home, life still feels intense.

Once I finally had time at home, I spent a day or two catching up on news reports about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, feeling a little late to the information party.

And no surprise, I didn’t sleep well that night … or the next.

During sale season, I expect this restless sleep pattern because of the mountain of details on my mind. But why, after completing the best sale we’ve had in our 26-year history, am I still restless? It’s as if I’ve stepped from one intense scene into another.

The clouds that filled the skies seemed to be shaped like billowy question marks. And because I hadn’t spent much time at home in weeks, we needed groceries.

(Thank goodness I had bought toilet paper in bulk before the sale began!) No doubt you’re aware that one had only to venture into a grocery store the past few weeks to see tension and unease on faces of folks right here in our community as they wondered what to do, how much to buy, how concerned to be.

Stories of hoarding and greed have abounded the past month, and they seem to be evidenced by all the empty shelves.

 One restless night after a grocery stocking trip that covered three stores, I even questioned my selfishness.

When does being prepared (you know, following CDC advice to stock two weeks’ worth of supplies) cross the line to selfishness, creating a shortage for many.

Am I too concerned with gathering enough stuff for my family, while ignoring the needs of others? (Perhaps soul searching isn’t one of the things in short supply as of late.)

Shortages of many food and home items have brought out the best in some but not all. That next to last sack of potatoes in the sadly empty produce section I grabbed wasn’t the only thing full of black spots, it seems.

The television and internet are so full of ugliness, we either must shut it off or very selectively pick through it for the good parts. If not, a stomach ache at the very least is sure to result.

And the uncertainty isn’t just in the super markets.

If you haven’t looked at the drops in the stock market, don’t. Financial advisers like Dave Ramsey assure us that we’re resilient and that this too will pass.

They remind us to stay on the roller coaster and ride it out … that we only need to look at history to prove this point.

Studying scary health and financial times like the Black Plague, H1N1, Spanish flu, 2008 financial downturns, 9/11, etc., may reassure us we will get through this one. Markets will recover. Most people should too.

Although we may know this with our heads, our psyches are concerned. And that concern can seem easy to handle one minute, then morph into a panic attack a short time later. Roller coaster ride, indeed! But while our emotions may run all over the place, we’re told to stay home.

Experts tell us to err on the side of caution. This seems to be particularly necessary with COVID-19 and its quick, exponential spread by people who can be prolific spreaders before they even suspect or experience symptoms.

So in an attempt to flatten the curve, most of us are exercising caution and following recommendations to social distance and to stay home as much as possible. And through doing so, many are seeing changes on our home fronts.

With schools and many businesses closing for who knows how long, many employees working from home and all sorts of events canceled for at least the next two months, our schedules have changed.

We feel our priorities shifting too. Things we thought were so important last month probably are no longer at the top of our “to do” lists (or “to have” lists).

Funny how you don’t need many clothes, makeup, etc., when you’re at home not trying to impress anyone.

I know our family has found ourselves cooking and eating at home more than we have in years, and that’s been kind of nice.

We can definitely see silver linings among the gray clouds. One shiny one was our daughter being sent home from her last medical school rotation, which she will now complete online.

Time with her here at home is wonderful. But too soon for this mama, she’ll join the front lines at Baylor Medical Center in Houston as a resident.

But many workers, like she will soon be, cannot simply nest at home, cooking dried beans and baking cornbread or whatever (as many must surely be doing by looking at those shelves in the stores).

Yes, many workers who have long been taken for granted are now officially classified as “essential,” requiring them to venture from the safety of their homes to run grocery stores, medical facilities, pharmacies, and so on. Deciding what is essential … who is essential is ponder-worthy.

So, as the layers are being peeled away in our schedules and lives, may we take this “opportunity” to look around with fewer distractions and more clarity and see what/who matters … and may we hold that thought!

May we sharpen our knives to remove those black spots inside that had gone unnoticed on the surface until we found the outer layers of our lives being peeled away to reveal the inside. Then may we do what we can to plant and grow fruits of the spirit in our homes and in our communities. (Galatians 5:22-23)

May we hear the birds singing encouragement right outside our windows. May we watch for rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds. May our words and actions be filled with hope, knowing Easter nears … and remembering God loved us enough to send his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

In these intense days and beyond, may we give thanks that God intensely loves each of us … enough also to get our attention. May we hear him beckoning, and may we draw ever nearer to him.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” — Isaiah 55:6

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” — James 4:8

Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 25 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.