Today’s Shifting World

It continues to be fascinating to me what things are available at the grocery stores and which are in short supply. For some reason this week the case full of fancy cheeses was half empty. After two weeks of warnings in the news about disruptions to the meat supply chain, I’m beginning to see the meat cases empty out. Flour and yeast are back in stock, though not fully stocked. I’ve seen reports in the news about altercations between store staff who ask people to wear masks and people who refuse them. I’ve never witnessed any such thing. About half of the customers are wearing masks and everyone is polite about giving each other space. Most of the stores I frequent have added plastic shields at the check out counter. Combined with my mask and the employee’s mask, I’m having to repeat myself more often or to ask for the clerk to repeat something. Lip reading to augment hearing is no longer a thing I can do. It hasn’t been much of a problem, but it could be if I were tired and having trouble with auditory processing that day.

I have a neighbor who’s job is involved with tools for hospital administration. He says he’s seen significant shifts in how hospitals are run. He has trouble getting in touch with his New York contacts because they’re all busy, yet in other areas there are hospitals which are slowly going bankrupt because all non-critical services have been canceled. High end hospitals which mostly catered to plastic surgery are facing dire financial situations. I don’t feel badly for the celebrities who have to wait for their beauty treatments, but I do feel badly for the hospital staff who are just regular people trying to make a living.

I asked my bishop (who is also my neighbor) if he’s seen a change in charitable needs within our ward. He didn’t give me any details, but told me yes he’s seeing big pattern shifts in who needs to rely on the social safety net provided by our church. It’s probably time for me to increase fast offerings since those funds never leave the neighborhood. They’re re-distributed right here and some of my neighbors need help. Then the bishop looked me in the eye and asked if we need help. I told him we’re okay for now, which we are. He nodded, but said be sure to speak up if things get hard down the line.

That’s the part I need to remember. For all the angry people in the news and on social media, all the people vehemently shouting for staying home or opening up. My town and neighborhood is full of people who are quietly trying to make the best decisions they can for their families, and who are quietly helping and supporting each other. Everyone I talk to acknowledges the strangeness of our situation. Know one knows what the long term outcomes will be for any of us. So we try to be kind. That is all we can do really while we watch the world shift around us and try to keep our balance as the shifts continue.