The New Normal: Grocery shopping

Since beginning my Gratitude Practice several years ago, I've listed "abundant food" dozens of times. But in my mind, I was comparing my situation to either a country with a limited food supply, the various "food deserts" in urban America, or those who lived in or on the edge of poverty. 

Though I was aware and grateful that my local grocery store's shelves were fully stocked, I never imagined a time when they wouldn't be.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

We had just bought food in bulk in preparation for our annual camping trip to Moab, Utah. We went on our planned vacation, staying socially distant in our self-contained camp trailer, and I suspended my worry for thirteen days.

But when we got home, I knew I needed to face the grocery challenge. We were out of milk. We needed fresh veggies. And I longed for some canned pineapple, my go-to indulgence for a snack or dessert (we'd been out for a month and had yet to find it).

Researching my options, my husband and I decided to order online for local pickup. I browsed their products and added the needed items on our list. Onions, lemons, celery, broccoli, and zucchini. A gallon of whole milk. 

Next I clicked on what we thought would likely be in stock but could do without if we had to. Fresh strawberries. Sour cream. Heavy cream. Oranges.

Then I began adding things that we wanted but questioned whether or not would be available. Cans of stew, chili, and soup. Macaroni and cheese. Tortilla chips. Frozen pot pies. Pineapple.

I submitted the order and chose the earliest pickup time - five days away. I spent the week wondering how much of our order we would get and preparing myself for the worst case. It was as if I were playing musical chairs or a twisted version of bingo. 

It seemed there were winners and losers in this mixed game of strategy and chance.

The day finally arrived, and I received a text a few hours before my scheduled pick up time that asked about substitutions for specific items. There were only five things I needed to change (and most of the alternates were completely acceptable). And there were another four products that weren't in stock (chips, one flavor of soup, bagged salad, and elbow noodles).

But we were getting everything else, including my pineapple!

I've never been so excited to see bags of groceries. Shawn carefully brought them in, set them on the designated "dirty" side of the table, then helped me disinfect everything. (This may be an unnecessary precaution for most people, but when you have a severe chronic disease, you can't be too careful.)

In the end, our groceries sparkled literally and figuratively. They were a beautiful sight, and it filled me with hope and happiness. Pineapple never tasted so sweet!

We are being challenged every day to redefine normal. We can either dig in our heels, resist the change, and allow stress to overtake us. Or we can do what humans have been doing for millennia - adapt, find new ways to do old things, and invite beauty into our lives.

What kind of beauty and gratitude can your grocery routine uncover?

How can you adapt to the new normal?

Some recent Doorways:

  • I've been attending church online, and it's been heartening to see so many others join as we watch the live service together.
  • Earlier this week, I marked twenty-two years since having a stroke. It's the event that began my medical journey, and I'm grateful to have survived.
  • My book club had our meeting virtually via Zoom this week. Seeing my friends and hearing them express their feelings about the quarantine was beautiful.


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