I don’t have any Y2K water left.
My three youngest kids have no memories at all of 1999 and the mass hysteria that eclipsed a lot of people’s time and joy, especially in the last few months of that year when the entire world waited to see which if any of multiple disaster scenarios might come true.
In case you don’t know, none of them did.
But people certainly let the doomsayers steal their contentment.
The worry, if I remember correctly, was about computers mistaking 1-1-00 as 1900 instead of 2000 and shutting down systems controlled by machines.
Midnight came and went, the electricity and gas didn’t go off, we still had running water, gas pumps still worked.
And many people’s garages and basements were filled with gas-powered generators, water filtration systems, canned goods of all kinds, dried and powdered survival foods, camping gear to cook on open fires if needed, extra blankets, toilet paper and paper products of all kinds, shelf stable groceries and cleaning and other dry products of every imaginable kind.
And Y2K water.
I hope whoever thought of the term Y2K (year two thousand) patented it.
While there was some fear that all of a sudden at 12:01am 1-1-2000 hospitals would go black and health care would be severely affected, those fears didn’t come to pass.
I happened to be nine months pregnant with a baby whose due date was 12-31-99. Fortunately he was born over three weeks late. When things were back to normal.
In the current worldwide climate we are facing a new fear that is all about the health and welfare of us all.
I don’t claim to know much about coronavirus (COVID-19), other than what I read in the many daily updates, hear in any newscast, see on the faces of the people around me. Even what is being reported changes throughout the day, so that the conversations I overhear in public are full of speculation and misinformation as often as not.
I am not making light of this pandemic. People far smarter than me have decided we need to take this disease seriously, so I am.
But I will not let it steal my hope.
This afternoon, the day after Middle Son was sent home from his university, the day before my weekly Celebrate Recovery will be indefinitely postponed for the foreseeable Fridays, Dear Husband and I trekked out to the store.
Yes, we actually needed to get some toilet paper. And basic groceries.
DH is now two weeks out from his total hip replacement, and we felt a short walk would be good exercise.
The parking lot wasn’t overly busy, and it didn’t seem that crowded, but after 40 minutes of increasingly hectic shopping where we were surprised to actually find only a few packages of some items still on the shelves, we waited another 40 minutes in line to check out and pay.
Dear Husband had to take a sit break after taking a few pictures of the chaos. We reminisced about the Y2K days, the uncertainty, the panic even. It seemed very familiar, but in a whole new category.
As we had made our way to the areas we needed to shop, others had intense looks on their faces. Frowns, scowls, wide-eyed surprise and consternation. Bent on a purpose, or maybe trying to calm a rising anxiety about why there were so many people in the store.
Depleted items were somewhat predictable: toilet paper, tissues, disinfectant wipes, bleach. We’ve all seen Facebook jokes about selling cars for a few rolls of toilet paper. It’s one of those things that doesn’t really make sense – it isn’t an intestinal virus – yet those of us whose parents lived through the depression still understand the sense of calm you get from knowing you’re prepared. Just in case.
Others, not so much: flour, butter, bananas. Although baking from scratch can be very therapeutic.
As we continued around I felt myself wondering if I didn’t need more groceries than I had planned on getting, you know in case things weren’t available to restock soon.
Then I started thinking about the Serenity Prayer that I’ve been missing the last few weeks as life has kept me from attending Celebrate Recovery.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”
This midafternoon trip was supposed to be a quick in and out. Running errands.
But when we turned the corner and saw that not only were most of the available 25 regular lines in use as well as all the self check-outs, but the lines jammed the whole front aisle of the store, we had no choice but to go with the flow.
There was no reason to get mad or frustrated or anxious.
“…the courage to change the things I can…”
The whole spirit in the store was frantic. And I hated that. I couldn’t change the way anyone else was seeing this from their own viewpoint, but I could show that I wasn’t letting it get me down.
We saw people we knew and we chatted easily, catching up, poking a little fun at the craziness.
Yes, I was tempted to start piling ALL the remaining whatevers in my cart, but I chose restraint. I fully expect the trucks to bring more items, the nighttime stockers will replenish the shelves, and I will return to shop another day.
“…and the wisdom to know the difference.”
My real desire was to change the way some of the people seemed to be seeing this. I saw the fear on their faces, the concern, the anger. I wanted to look them in the eye and tell them that they would be ok.
But that isn’t up to me. It’s up to each one of us to choose hope over fear.
So I did what I could.
I smiled. Big and genuine. Full of the peace and calm I was able to feel in the middle of the madness.
“Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is; not as I would have it;”
If you’ve read my blog over the last year you know I’ve struggled a lot this past year with respiratory issues. Asthma, allergies, hospital admissions and emergency room trips. In just the past couple of months the respiratory flu and in the past couple of weeks now, pneumonia.
I know that I am in a higher risk category than many people. But I am not afraid of these things that can kill the body, and I will not live my daily life in fear of the what ifs. (And yes, my kids are scolding me about staying home and letting them do the running.)
I choose to look for the familiar faces and offer a normal conversation and a reassuring smile. We’re in a little time of hardship. Let it draw us all to a greater peace that only comes from trusting that God is not surprised by the nightly news reports, the canceling of public gatherings, even the deaths of those who have and will succumb to this new threat.
“Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.”
Make all things right.
Looking around the store today, that was my desire. To make all things right for all these people. If I had the power…
But I do. Because I intimately know the source of all power. And I know that Jesus is trustworthy, honest when he says he can meet all my needs.
My need for calm in any stormy situation, for peace when there is nothing but chaos in the world around me. Knowing I am loved and cherished when very real threats to my health, my life, may be coming, no matter what happens.
These are my needs. Not toilet paper or Y2K water.
And if you are feeling panic, anxiety, anger, take a moment and consider.
What is your source of hope?
And if you’ve never given God a second thought, now might be a good time to start.
We all can use a little serenity.