Updated: Apr 26, 2020
How often do we encounter something that truly challenges us? Something which causes us to take stock of who we are, and measures our community.
My community, so far, is standing up to this challenge. With a jutted chin and a puffed chest. We are working our way through this. On this day, March 24th 2020, despite the unknowns of our immediate future, the community of Chapin is measuring well.
COVID-19 has not yet made an appearance here. Our challenges thus far are the result of dire situations outside of our quiet bubble. But we are suffering, and we are responding.
Can You Measure Kindness?
I am now more socially connected than at any previous time in my life. I probably know over a hundred people by name along with their favorite coffee beverage. I post on Facebook and Instagram so often it has become an unbreakable habit. These connections are part of what has kept me grounded. Focused.
From my mother’s admittance to assisted living on October 31st of last year, to her passing on January 23rd of this year, I’ve become accustomed to baring my feelings on social media.
Last night, following a very slow day of business, with more COVID-19 cases spiking in South Carolina, the roller coaster was in a trough. I let my thoughts known. This evening the roller coaster is rattling as the chains beneath pull it higher.
Though my anxieties have been pushed aside for now, there is a new one present this evening. How do I appropriately show gratitude for what I witnessed today?
It began this morning. One of my wonderful friends came to the register and ordered ten large beverages. Then she stated, “only make one.”
Not long after her departure a family appeared. They ordered two drinks, selected a few books, and added a $50 gift card.
A third customer. Someone I already consider a friend gained since the outbreak of COVID-19. He has been supporting me beyond what I would expect of anyone. He purchased four $50 gift cards, and ventured into the community to give them away.
As we neared our closing time there was one more. Another regular. He ordered his usual, and then added a $100 gift card.
Reading over what I wrote above…, it is difficult to hold my emotions in check.
How can I ever thank these amazing people enough? How can I possibly express what their kindness means to me? To my family? To the employees at The Coffee Shelf?
Corona Has More To Give
Our ability to support one another might yet be tested further. Or maybe not. We just don’t know at this point. Head spinning information appears every day. Every hour. News alerts on my phone are starting to cause a reaction. A reaction of…, I don’t know. A reaction.
Something I read today caused me to pause. “Since half of the people are not complying with social distancing let’s release everyone back to normal business.”
Soon after I read this, as if on cue, an announcement came from our governor. All schools in South Carolina will remain closed until the end of April. Yesterday he requested we only gather in groups of three or less.
I’ve not paid much attention to Governor McMaster. I’m not sure what kind of man he is, or how capable a politician. But I’m thinking he is issuing these orders for a reason.
I can’t begin to predict our immediate future. I am trying to plan for a scenario where South Carolina is placed under a “shelter in place” order. But I am not truly prepared for that. A dozen states are under such an order. How are the small communities in those states faring?
Giving All We Can
I’m a hiker. I’m used to reaching the mountain crest and releasing a sigh of accomplishment. I usually have a good idea of the distance required to reach the top. Often, when I’m getting close, with burning thighs, the tree-line grows lighter.
It is my frustration with this global pandemic. I can’t see the end. I do not know if there is a crest ahead, or a dozen valleys.
Today a light appeared. Not from any news which leads me to believe COVID-19 could soon be behind. Nothing implying a cure is at hand. It was the light from giving hands. My spirits were lifted. I walked to my car with less weight than what I carried in the morning.
And that is good enough for now.