My Thoughts on COVID-19, Grocery Aisles, and Our Neighbor

Photo Credit: Giuseppe Argenziano, Unsplash

I see a lot of judgment being passed on so many right now. I 🙋‍♀️ did it just the other day in Wal-Mart! I mean didn’t that lady clearly see the sign on the floor in the one-way aisle that said DO NOT ENTER? 🤷‍♀️ Whoa! Ginger – girl – back up sweetheart.

What the hell just happened? Are we all really going to let this thing turn us into a society that judges our neighbor even more than we already do? Are we willing to resort to the tattling behavior of our elementary years 🗣 or take our seat among the gossipmongers or the Pharisees so we can feel good about our conformity while we take our seat on high and wave our proverbial scepter 👑 granting those we deem worthy to enter into our presence (whether in person or online) while casting out those we don’t agree with? Just WHO, may I ask, granted us this sovereign godship to make decisions for others, pass judgment on them, and arrogantly assume we even know or understand their situation? Shame on us. 🤮

I remember the first time I ventured into Publix. My shopping habit is not to look at the floor, but rather up at the aisle signs. I didn’t see the signs that said “enter here” or “exit only” either. Could I have given my elderly neighbor the benefit of the doubt in Wal-Mart and considered perhaps she too was venturing out for the first time and just doesn’t understand “the rules?” Might I have just smiled and shown grace and happily moved my cart over to allow her passage? She just wanted some damn cat food for her beloved animal, 🐈 perhaps the only living thing that keeps her company in a world gone mad. Might I have just told the voice in my head to shut up and remember I too break more rules than I care to admit? Please, God, forgive my failure to just recognize my neighbor and perhaps lend a helping hand.

WE ALL JUDGE. Why isn’t he wearing a mask? Why is she wearing a mask in the car? Back off, you’re not 6 feet from me! Why is that group gathering in the park? Did you see those people hug each other? Why are those people eating in a restaurant? Why aren’t we all just continuing to shelter in place? We need to get back to work! We’re getting back to work too soon! Don’t you care about our health? The Democrats are the devil. The Republicans are the devil. The president is the devil. His running mate is the devil 🤘 The numbers are up. The numbers aren’t true. The virus is real. The virus is a hoax. It’s the end of the world. It’s a conspiracy theory. WE ALL JUDGE.

And there are a million opinions. Are we going to be so arrogant that we think our version of “THE truth” is the WHOLE truth? We all have AN experience, not ALL experiences. We couldn’t possibly personally experience the totality of the situation, so maybe it’s best to operate as decent human beings as we encounter experiences within our personal control and stop assuming we understand other people’s realities when we aren’t even close to living those realities.

And I fear if we continue to allow our personal judgments and opinions to color the perception of other people’s realties, we may have a longer road of healing and reconciliation to OURSELVES. Might it be better to err on the side of GRACE to allow ourselves just a moment to close our eyes and step into the shoes of the person we so vehemently oppose – and consider, just for a moment – that perhaps we just don’t know the whole story? Perhaps we can allow ourselves to step outside of our opinions for a moment and enter into the humanity of another person. Just for a moment.

Have we considered perhaps their situation is impossible? Perhaps any decision they make will still piss some people off no matter what? Perhaps they’re doing the best they can? And maybe, just maybe, they could never do anything right in our eyes because we are just too self absorbed with our version of the truth.

How might we reconsider our responses going forward? If they do/don’t want to shake our hand? If they’re ready/not ready to attend an event? If they do/don’t want to eat in a restaurant? IF ___? Might we understand and gracefully grant their need for personal space and/or autonomy to make their own decisions? If you’re sheltering in place, how would you feel if someone passed harsh judgment on you and forced you outside? We already know what it feels like to be forced inside! If you’re not comfortable leaving your home, don’t! But for the sake of personal freedom, allow others to figure out their own boundaries and when/if the day comes they cross yours, kindly let them know.

For me, the next time I see a person entering the wrong side of the grocery aisle, I’m going to step aside, smile, and say good afternoon! 😊

If they inadvertently enter our own space, might we consider they’re not trying to disrespect us, they’re just as new to this as we all are?

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