lenten journal: doing what we can

Pop Art style comic book panel girl calling and yelling out loud with speech bubble vector illustration

As Ginger and I walked down to the marina late this afternoon, I tried to figure out how many days we have been in our communal isolation. Best I can remember, the restaurants and bars in Connecticut closed down last weekend. Maybe it was last year. The way the days pass right now reminds me of the “crazy cat diary” that shows up from time to time.

DAY 752 – My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

It is getting more difficult to keep track of what day it is because one is not so different from another.

I am aware that, for me, I think of our new world order beginning last Sunday because that was when we had our “farewell service” at church. About seventy of us gathered (and spread out) in the sanctuary to say goodbye to our physical gathering and to commit to our ongoing solidarity. Tomorrow will be our first virtual worship. Jake and Ginger will go over to the building and ring the bell, but our church will be all over town, in living rooms and bedrooms, worshipping together.

This afternoon, I baked cookies–something I have not done in a long, long time. At Ginger’s request, I made my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sriracha Cookies, which were a favorite in the days of Milton’s Famous. Ginger has been craving them for a while and the chance to share with some folks as a way to reach across the distance made it a compassionate endeavor as well. Two of the people we wanted to take cookies to live down near the marina, which is why we walked down there.

After we dropped off the cookies, we ordered dinner from the Guilford Mooring. They make a Cape Cod Potato Chip-crusted fish and chips that Ginger loves. Their Bolognese is one of my favorites. I called and ordered both as we walked. We got home with our food only to find fried clam strips instead of fish. When I called the restaurant, I learned that they were not going to keep the kitchen open after tonight and they were out of fish. They were kind to refund the cost of our meal.

I felt for Ginger and I felt for the man on the other end of the phone. He said they had decided to close because they couldn’t figure out how to order food in a way that made sense. They are a fresh seafood restaurant. Instead, they are just going to wait it out. That means, of course, no one that works there will draw a salary.

Cookies won’t fix that.

I have seen three or four articles this week that pointed to the variety of ways in which we, the people, have found ways to connect and support one another in the middle of our unfortunate isolation. And it is worth noting. We have had a good week. We are going to need a lot of good weeks–maybe good months–to get through this together. The acts of kindness we have shown to one another are going to need to become weekly, or perhaps daily, rituals. The donations we have made will need to be more than one time things.

We can’t lose sight of the people in lives just because we don’t see them everyday. None of us can take care of everyone, but all of us can do something. And do it over and over. All of us are going to need help to get through this, which means we are going to have to learn to ask for it the way Ginger asked for the cookies.

Add it to the list: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, help somebody.



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