“Remember, there’s no crying in baseball,” Tom Hanks said recently when interviewed about his experience with testing positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus).
No crying in baseball, indeed.
But this ain’t baseball.
Not even close.
Yesterday, I forgot about my own advice on holding on to hope and pushing fear aside as I reached for the last box of Hot Pockets in the grocery freezer.
I never buy Hot Pockets.
Like, never, ever.
A man rolled his cart past me and we eyeballed each other. I took one look in his basket, full of a variety of frozen burritos that he appeared to have strong-armed in there like a bulldozer, and I set the Hot Pockets back.
I moved on, feeling smaller and more panicked by the minute as I passed the empty freezer cases, past a stray package of frozen eggplant, a frozen, cauliflower crust extra olive pizza, a section of frozen corn on the cob with obvious freezer burn.
On and on the empty sections gaped at me, and I back at them.
What in the world?
There are no shortages, the press tries to remind us.
This is not a natural disaster, the media drones.
If only everyone takes what they need, they say.
What I need is for my senior college nursing student to be able to take his long-awaited mission trip to the Dominican Republic that is now cancelled.
What I need is for my middle college son, studying in New York City, to come home before they lock down the area or the airports to travel.
What we all need is assurance that we will come out the other side of this unscathed.
No wonder England printed those signs during war times:
Easy for them to say.
Easy for anyone to say.
Hard, so very hard, for us to do.
What was it Mr. Rogers said? Look for the helpers? We could all use a helper about now, that’s for sure.
But we can help each other.
That’s the one sure thing we do have, right? Each other?
Social distancing doesn’t mean heart distancing, after all.
We can post our own signs of keeping calm, signs like kindness, like patience, like checking on each other.
We can take care of ourselves, too.
Having flown just days ago, I am reminded to put on my own oxygen mask before helping the person seated next to me. That means reaching for the tools I have been taught to use to keep my PTSD at bay,
things like writing and painting,
and my faith.
In this world, we will have trouble, that much is certain. Life can strip us from much. Plans and markets and governments can quake.
But we can know we are not alone.
And we can love, and love well.
Oh, and we can eat Mexican food. (If you’re local, I highly recommend Luciana’s!)
Take good care, friends.
Take good care.