Updated: Aug 15, 2020
I need to be responsible during this COVID19 crisis. I am older. I am not allowed to go out except in an emergency. So, I tried to order groceries through “Instacart” yesterday and failed. After I picked my items, it said, “no delivery or pickup available”. I called customer service twice and was given a 59-minute wait time. I tried to accept an online offer from a neighbor willing to pick up local farm veggies, but could not place my order, texted her twice but did not hear back from her. My eyebrows pulled down into a frown, which lasted most of the rest of my Saturday.
Today is a new day. A SUN day. I am in a better mood. A better mood brings renewed effort. I attempt to get more involved in the neighborhood. A neighbor asked for egg cartons for her friend who has chickens, so I leave an egg carton on Maggie’s porch today. Then I take my usual walk down the road and around a nearby church. I pick up 4 lb. rocks to do my arm exercises, while staring at tall eucalyptus trees behind the church. I think, “I hate having to need other people.” That is why, when I needed others to get my groceries, and my efforts failed, I felt vulnerable and grumpy. But on the flipside, I have this fear of dying alone. Like a bolt of light, I understood and smile at my own dilemma. What did I understand? That I cannot have it both ways - to stay an island, then be terrified to be alone. I have circled this issue many times in my life, sometimes flying way up in the sky, like a hawk, to see it from above, and sometimes hopping on the grass like a sparrow, looking at it up close. Self-compassion rises in me. I know that though I resist it, the only answer is to reach for help. My heart feels softer as I continue to walk.
As I turn the corner, I see a farmer clearing brush near her chicken coop. I have walked here for ten years, and this is the first time I have seen anyone but the chickens and the dogs.
Do you sell your chicken eggs?
Well, I mostly give them to the neighbors.
Are you the one that Maggie collects the egg cartons for?
I just left a carton on her porch. Can I buy eggs from you?
Yes. Just tell Maggie and I will get you some next week.
Great. Thank you.
We are pretty much loners in our neighborhood, and we kind of like it that way. We smile and wave, when others are out, but that is about it. This coronavirus has forced me to be more aware of my interdependence. Spiritual leaders have always preached this gospel. The “we are all one” magnanimous feeling usually lingers for a few hours after church on Sundays, but even churches are closed. Today I got my sermon from behind a church, in a holy grove of eucalyptus trees. If I ignore this lesson, or don’t let it linger past Sunday, I put you and me and everyone we touch in danger. My insistence on independence, like running off to get my own groceries, is a weapon that can kill. I may be running low on food, but I will take a breath and look out the window, waiting for Maggie to bring me some eggs.