“10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.”
Greetings and peace my friends,
Today I’d like to share with you a short story in order to illustrate something that I see occurring much to often these days.
The other day I was in a grocery store and witnessed a young man who was standing beside a large “pushcart” that had approximately 20 large paper bags on it. I noticed that each bag had a piece of white paper with several grocery items listed on them. The young man was hunched over and was obviously struggling with his emotions. I stopped (6ft. away) and asked him if he was ok? He almost started to weep. Then he said “I just don’t know what to do. All of these people are asking for items to be delivered to their homes that we just don’t have in the store and when I don’t fill the bag properly, I get in a lot of trouble with my boss.” In the moment, my heart broke. I thanked the young man for giving his best effort. I told him that I knew people who were relying on people just like him and that as a people of God we are all thankful that there are people “out there” who are going the extra mile to make our lives better. The young man looked at me sincerely and simply said “thanks, I think I needed to hear that,” and went on his way.
There are many incredibly important lessons for us to take from pandemic. Today I would like to highlight the lesson of “appreciation.” Two months ago, if I saw that same young man doing this task, he would have been able to easily fulfill his mission; but not today. As those of you who are doing shopping realize, the shelves are not as full as they once were. But still, there are adequate supplies to care for us. We might all do well to appreciate the abundance that we had, have, and more than likely will continue to have.
I wonder, do we really appreciate people like this young man who are tirelessly working to help people whom he probably doesn’t know? Do we appreciate the store manager who probably is pulling his/her hair out trying to meet the needs of customers amid dealing with all the customer complaint calls that he/she is receiving?
Of course, it doesn’t stop with grocers does it? I hear plenty of criticism levied at government officials who are all just simply trying to help lead us through a very difficult and historic time. I hear plenty of criticism levied at police officers and other public safety workers who are simply trying to keep us safe. I hear plenty of criticism levied against administrators of retirement communities, family members, and others who are tasked to care for groups of people.
My advice? Be appreciative. Be grateful. Be of good cheer for we can do all things and get through this pandemic, through Him Who strengthens us! And as St. Paul suggests, it would be kind for us all to take a moment to be appreciative and grateful, sharing in the distress of those who are simply trying to help us.
For now, my friends.
Keep trusting God, washing those hands, and be at peace!