Ernest Hemingway, in a 1929 interview with columnist Dorothy Parker in which they were speaking of courage, stated that “guts” was having “grace under pressure”. Lately, I have seen more than a few examples of grace under pressure.
We hear stories of cops and firemen and medics (personally, I dislike the term, First Responders) who risk their safety to come to the aid of others. Whether by training, habit or vocation, most of them do this day in and day out throughout their careers. And much of the time without recognition or fanfare.
But, it is of the everyday acts of generosity, thoughtfulness, courtesy and, even, humor that I have recently witnessed that I am now referring to.
The all-pervasive virus news has featured stories of people loading up multiple shopping carts at the Costcos and Walmarts with toilet paper and paper towels. Maybe they have a hygiene issue or maybe they’re just plain “panic hoarders”. But, the image that comes to mind more frequently is that of a lady at our local Food Lion walking ahead of us in the “paper goods” aisle. Only two packages were left in the entire otherwise empty aisle. She looked at them and said, “Take one and leave one”. Thoughtful. A similar situation at another nearby grocery store took another twist. The paper goods aisle had only a few packages left and people were looking anxious (kind of like seeing a highway sign saying, “next rest stop 25 miles”. Suddenly, you gotta’ go!). A nicely dressed woman eyed the situation and blurted out, “I don’t give a darn about the toilet paper, but they better not be out of coffee”! Grim faces suddenly turned into grins. Laughter is truly the best medicine.
Our little Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton is coming together, one neighbor to another. Small food businesses are helping area residents and one another by setting up an on-line ordering system for food staples from nearby organic farmers and food suppliers. These suppliers and farmers will bring the orders to a central location and the residents can pick them up without even getting out of their cars. Restaurants are offering curbside take-out service. It’s a win-win in difficult times.
Churches, including our beloved St. Francis of Assisi parish, are increasing their aid to the needy and to those that may be more vulnerable to catching something. Our pastor, with the aid of parish staff, managed to livestream this Sunday’s Mass. To partake spiritually in the Mass along with our fellow parishioners, even from a physical distance, was a great comfort to us .http://stfrancisparish.org/homily-lent4.html
In the meantime, despite setbacks and these very trying times, the construction on our new home is continuing. The siding seems to be nearing completion. Installation of the hardwood floors started this past Saturday. Our newest target date is from the end of April to mid-May. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
So, let us all remember to be calm and kind and patient with others and ourselves. And, to have Faith. We will be alright. God is watching over you and us, especially in these crazy times!
And, for goodness sake…Don’t Run Out Of Coffee!!
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