These are troubling times we are living in these days. With a raging virus, the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetimes, attempting to cripple us, the opposite is happening. We, as people, are becoming stronger. We are growing closer together.

I had to make a trip to Costco tonight, and it was a sight I had never seen before. Pallets stacked six high in two rows leading into the entrance. I felt like I was being herded into the store like they herd horses into a corral after being caught. Extra workers watching the people entering, scanning the crowd. As you entered, you saw the signs saying what they sold out and what was available toiletry wise. They sold most items out and no date of when you could expect them.

The crowds were smaller today than the past few days. They swarmed Costco with overflowing crowds that they didn’t expect. Thus, the pallets. People seemed preoccupied compared to a “normal” day. People weren’t making eye contact. That stuck out to me the most. People who would normally brush by you or bump into you were keeping their distance. Maybe it was the signs reminding us to keep a “social distance” of six feet between carts.

In one way it was nice. People were polite to each other and waited for you to cross their path instead of just plowing forward in blind oblivion. Everyone either nodded a greeting or gave a forced smile but you could see them all sizing you up asking themselves if you were the one who would get them sick.

Everyone who worked in the store wore rubber gloves. The kind doctors and plumbers wear. Everything smelled like cleaner in the store. Much more than usual. One woman was wearing plastic food serving gloves that were big but kept her hands from touching anything. A few people wore masks and you could see the snickers it drew from some, but you could tell it made them nervous.
They opened alternative check stands, every other one to keep the social distancing. I watched as the checkers cleaned the check stands before opening them up to the customers. Something I have never seen before. Not like this.

There was a nervous tension in the air, and you could feel it. You could see it in the people’s eyes and in their mannerisms. But what stood out the most was people were kind. There was no pushing or shoving, no impatience if someone stopped pushing their cart for a minute, no foul words being hurled for bumping into somebody. Just patience and kindness.

As we all go through this, we must prepare for things to get worse before they get better. Times will get tougher. Things will get harder. It will be more difficult to do some things that we never gave a moment’s thought to before. They will cancel gatherings. Parties will be re-scheduled. They will not play entire seasons. Plays will not perform, and they will not show movies not shown in our homes. Dining out or going to a bar will be a thing of the past for a short while.

It’s times like these that we remember that we are no longer us against them, you against me, right verses left. We are all just neighbors trying to get through this. As best as we can.
You will have choices to make in the coming days that concern your life and the lives of associates, friends, and loved ones. You will weigh the decisions heavily and do the best you can to make the right decisions. This you can count on.

One book I read tells me that “everything I need is already here”. That means you already have the answers to the questions you have. You just need to trust the answer. Trust but do not “blindly” trust. Vet them first. During trying times like these, it’s easy to “hear” the wrong answer based on what we “want” to hear.

Here are a few simple qualifications for the answers to know you can trust them.
1. If it brings harm to another human, it’s most likely the wrong decision. These are times we need to help and not harm each other.
2. If it doesn’t benefit your spirit by enriching you, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Right decisions enrich everyone involved.
3. If it means being “right” verses being “kind,”, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Be kind. It will spread, and we need kindness to spread right now.
4. If it means you live your life in fear, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Live smart, not in fear.
5. If it means taking an us versus them attitude, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Now, more than ever, we need to stick together. It will take ALL of us, side by side, to get through this. And we will.

Last, my advice to all of you is to remember, this too shall pass. It will be like having gallstones. It will be painful and hard to endure, but it WILL pass. Of this, you can be sure.