My brother’s keeper…

I woke this morning having the urge to write, but not having much to say. That has been happening more often lately. I’m sure it’s just because my routine is tight and mostly the same day-to-day in the current state of affairs.

Yesterday had some interesting turns. For months we have been trying to hire two additional paralegals at my job. One to replace my friend who left for another job…in OCTOBER…and one to add hands to the deck. After months and months, it finally happened. We made two offers in one week — about two weeks ago. Right as all the Corona-craziness was getting started.

Rather than place the positions on hold, we are moving forward. One started yesterday — the new position for our contracts/corporate work. She’g great. We used Zoom to meet face-to-face. Though I was originally involved in the interview process, I live in SC and my company is in Colorado so we spoke over the phone. Let me tell you — on boarding from a distance is quite a trick. She’s sharp though, and quite tech savvy, so though challenging, we made it through Day 1.

Mid-day I took a break and logged on to Facebook. There my friend wrote a post that really pierced my heart. She is a teacher, living on a teacher’s wage therefore she shops groceries weekly. She also has asthma so she really shouldn’t expose herself to others by going inside the store. She orders her groceries weekly online. This week, she ordered 10 apples and a small variety of meats (chicken, ground beef, etc.). It is normal for stores to substitute when they do not have a product requested, or to short something if there isn’t a good alternative.

Upon arriving home and unloading her groceries, she discovered she had received one apple and no meats other than bacon. What in the world is she to do with that combination. She has a husband and young son to feed. She posted bravely on Facebook, not to ask for direct assistance, but to ask people to please stop hoarding food. My heart just broke.

Now, the wonderful part of the story, of course, is all the people who reached out to offer portions of food that they had and were more than happy to share, but I couldn’t help but think, “Well, that solves the problem for one person for this week, but what about all the others who are similarly situated either this week or in the coming weeks? What do they do then?”

I may have missed this report on the news, but I haven’t heard that this is a common issue in other afflicted countries. Italy, for all its tragedy and hardships during this time, seems to have enough food for everyone. I got to thinking why this might be the case?

I think it comes down to the love of community over ones self. For all the things I love about our country, I think we tend to be a little “me first” in our thinking. Not always – or at least in “normal” times I don’t think it’s as apparent. But lately, with what is going on, with the level of fear people have experienced, I think we’ve reacted in a way that hasn’t necessarily brought out our best selves.

Of course I want my family cared for, and my first objective is to make sure that is accomplished, but not necessarily to the detriment of others.

I have shared my general philosophy of handling difficult situations before. It’s simply summed in my little mantra: keep the lesson, shed the experience. So far, it’s worked pretty well as a life application tool.

In leaving the LDS religion, I shed many of my experiences, but feeling nothing is a total loss, I have kept some of the valuable lessons I learned. One thing about the Mormons, they generally fall in the category of “Preppers”.

When I first joined, I was taught the lesson of “preparedness”. Having something tucked away for a rainy day. Through this time we climbed out of debt and started storing and rotating a food storage. Now, at first I thought that was a little crazy — they suggest having a year supply of what you would need to survive. But, I was obedient if anything, and I began to build a storehouse a little at a time over the next few years. Even I would look at my basement grocer store and wonder what I was doing — until the day came that all that preparing became protection.

In December 2001, shortly after 9/11, Frank lost his job. We had sold our first home and were in an apartment waiting to close on our then, dream house. Somehow we managed to store our surplus of food and paper goods in the tiny two bedroom space, and thankfully so. While Frank searched in earnest for the next several months to find steady work, we didn’t worry about how we would feed the kiddos or how we would make ends meet. The lesson stuck with us.

Today we by no means store and entire year’s worth of anything, but we do make sure we have a good few months of paper goods and food on hand. So, when I first heard there could be a pandemic, about 4-5 weeks ago now, I sat Frank down and we went into action. We didn’t go insane, but the next day we bought the small upright freezer we’d been discussing but hadn’t yet moved to purchase. We bought a few bags of meat and some frozen vegetables and fruit. We bought an additional package of Sam’s club toilet paper and paper towels, some cleaning supplies and the like. What we didn’t do was lose our minds and start hoarding.

When I hear stories like that of my friend, it makes me sad. It makes me reflect and ask myself the hard questions. What am I doing to help my neighbor during this time? Am I keeping watch over those in my circle to make sure their needs are met the best way I can. I hope to be a light in this time of uncertainty. I truly feel I have been spared a bit of the anxiety and trepidation that I know some around me have experienced. And for that I feel blessed. I have spent a lot of this time in prayer and in the Word drawing close to God for His comfort.

Today the verses I keep running into all have a similar theme — love your neighbor as yourself. I must have found that verse or some version of it no less than five times, just this morning — and I didn’t start out seeking after it. The last place I stumbled upon it was in Galatians 5, where it reads:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Galatians 5:12-14 NLT

Let’s do that. Let’s make sure we are keeping an eye one each other and serving where we can. If someone is stretched for food, share what you have. If someone is low on TP, spare a roll. If someone is fearful, sit with them on the phone or through something like Zoom. Just because we can’t be together doesn’t mean we have to be separated during this time. We are all called to be our brother’s keeper.

2 Replies to “My brother’s keeper…”

  1. “Keep the lesson, she’s the experience…” I love this! I am seriously going to put this in my mental catalog of quotes to live by, thanks for sharing, we need more people think like you in the world, be blessed 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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