Covid-19 claimed another piece of normalcy today, and I felt the reverberations in my “lizard brain.”
It’s never good when that happens – when I sense that my “fight or flight” reflex has been activated. Oddly, the trigger in this case was a trip to the grocery store.
Or more precisely, the new “pandemic” restrictions that have been placed on a trip to the grocery store: As of today, only one person per household is allowed to shop at a time in our neck of the woods.
Poof! There goes “date night,” I realized.
Which in point of fact is what trips to the grocery store have become for my Sweetie and me, pretty much since we entered the Empty Nester stage of our lives. It’s a simple thing, but one that we actually enjoy doing together – in part, because it anticipates (and provisions) the meals we’ll share for the next week or two.
With the “together” part now removed from that equation…I immediately felt a measure of resentment and indignation flare up. That’s such a great look, isn’t it? “Sure, people are getting infected with Covid-19 all around the county. But what about ME? I’m not sick…so why do I have to suffer this loss of ‘shopping-togetherness’?”
Sitting with the scriptures for Monday of Holy Week, I notice a similar strain of indignation on the lips of someone in Jesus’ company: His disciple Judas, who bellows:
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”
And then I notice something else, a bit earlier in the story — a much more life-giving instinct on the part of Martha and Mary. I’ve heard this particular gospel story hundreds of times, but until today, it never occurred to me what’s happening here: Martha and Mary are throwing a dinner party “six days before Passover.” At which time, undoubtedly, they will again be throwing a dinner party – probably for many in this same motley crew. So why the double-dipping? Why not just wait a few days to celebrate together?
“Gratitude” is at least part of the answer, I suspect. Martha and Mary are grateful that their brother, who was dead, has been brought back to life. And their instinct of extravagant hospitality recalled the many holy women in my life who would have done exactly the same thing. My Sweetie…my Mom…my grandmothers…my Aunties…
What a blessing, to have such skilled, generous and extravagant provisioners … showing me in a very practical way how the Good News actually gets kneaded into the dough of life…even as they teach me that “gratitude” is the kind of Holy Week gift we simply ought not wait to share.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.