I did it. I bought toilet tissue paper today. This morning after attending a meeting at the Moncton hospital (annual accreditation process) I headed to Costco. We needed toilet tissue. Not because we’re stocking up in preparation for an outbreak of COVID-19, but because we needed it. We are a household six (soon to be seven again) and we needed it.
While driving to Moncton this morning I learned of the Education Minister’s communique to those in the NB education system in respect to the need for those returning from international travel to self-isolate. Good advice most agree, if a day late? I expect that Nova Scotia will be making a similar announcement as their March Break gets underway next week?
Gathering with clergy colleagues I could not help but notice that there was a noticeable reduction in the number of hugs and handshakes. My friend Steve greeted me with a fist bump and promptly got down on the floor to get kisses from Rasta (go figure)! We shared breakfast and then engaged in a number of educational processes as part of our annual recertification. You will not be surprised to learn that we reviewed hand-washing techniques, infectious control, gowning and isolation procedures in health care settings.
And so it was, after returning an item at the customer service desk, and having a quick chat with some folk from Sackville (who also had toilet tissue in their cart I think), that without a cart, I headed directly to the back of the store. I was on a mission. We needed toilet tissue. Jennifer had been there last night getting groceries and they’d been out. She was told a truck would be in this morning.
As I moved with purpose through the store with Rasta keeping pace I began to notice that every cart had at least one big package of toilet tissue in it. I walked faster. There might not be any left. No, I didn’t sigh in relief on seeing the tower of Kirkland brand tissue but I did ask the staff member working out back for a cart and placed two of the packages of treasured toilet tissue therein. Two. What had I become? A prepper? A doomsday planner? No, I reminded myself again, we just needed toilet tissue… why then was I scouring the shelves looking for disinfecting wipes?
Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can lead us to think we need to stock up on, of all things, toilet tissue. Fear can lead us to dispose of assets at a loss – for fear that we could lose more than what we’ve already lost. They remain ‘unrealized loss/gain’ until you sell them. Don’t sell.
Maybe the best advice is to take a breath, to be still, yes, prepare, but do not be afraid. As we are singing each Sunday in Lent:
Yesterday was filled with meetings and pastoral encounters in the office. Today, as above I was to Moncton and will be working from home for the rest of the day.
Wednesday will see me in the office in the morning and then at the Drew for the afternoon where I’ll take part in two committee meetings. At 6:30pm I’ll meet with the Executive for the regular Business Meeting.
Thursday will see me working (thinking about it anyways) on a sermon for Sunday – likely as I drive to PEI and back so I can be present with my dad when my mom comes out of surgery (second hip replacement, take two).
I’ll likely spend Friday morning putting the thoughts from Thursday to paper and in the afternoon I’ll be making the rounds to pick up the pies that have been solicited from local businesses.
On Saturday morning I hope to run into some of you at the market and see even more of you at 6PM for our second annual Pie Day! Bring the whole family. Bring your neighbours. Everyone loves pie! The event gets underway at 6PM and a 6:45PM there be a live auction of some special pies!!
Sunday’s sermon title as per the series poster is “What’s This About Heaven on Earth?” Let’s just say it won’t be the easiest sermon I’ve written and preached…