it was an eerie emptiness that engulfed me as I entered in, surprising me even though the normally full parking lot was nearly empty, providing me a preview of what I could expect to encounter inside. Still, I confess to you now, dear readers, for a moment I did not recognize this once familiar place. My mind wandered back to the last time, not so long ago, that I had been here. The lines had been long, business brisk, people coming and going, talking back and forth as they waited their turn.
I think it was the silence that seemed so out of place at first, but the place itself bore little resemblance to what I remembered from just a couple weeks ago. Bright yellow “caution” tape, reminding me of a crime scene, seemed to be everywhere. On the floor it was placed at intervals, indicating where people were supposed to stand while waiting their turn in line. Only there were no other customers today, just me.
As I looked up from the crime scene tape on the floor, my mind couldn’t immediately make sense of what I was seeing. More crime scene tape ran across the entire front of the counter, from one side of the room to the other. At first I wasn’t sure if anyone was on the other side of that counter. A large, clear plastic tarp hung from the ceiling to the counter top, from one side of the room to the other.
Maybe it was the glare of the ceiling lights on the plastic divider, or maybe it was the pattern of the rectangles on the clear plastic or maybe it was because the tarp wasn’t anchored down at the bottom but hung freely, allowing it to sway slightly and to buckle just a bit – perhaps it was all these things in combination, that made it difficult for me to discern at first glance if indeed there were any people on the other side of the counter, ready to wait on customers. (side note – why do they call it “waiting on customers” when it is the customer who typically does the “waiting”? as in “take a number and wait for the next available representative, customer service specialist etc.)
I had walked into a world of eerie silence and crime scene tape, empty of any human beings it seemed, until I realized there was a person behind the counter, hidden behind the tarp and she would help me mail my package. A barrier of sorts had been formed using the bright yellow tape and carts placed between customer and counter, ensuring that I, along with everyone else, would keep my social distance while also providing a place on which to set the credit card machine necessary to complete the transaction.
It all worked very well, it just didn’t seem real. Yes, I am describing my trip today to the post office, not an undercover mission in a war zone. Although, the masks do add a heightened sense of mystery, danger, fear and intrigue to any otherwise routine and dare I say mundane errand to any place of everyday business.
Maybe that’s what I couldn’t quite put my finger on – people didn’t fill the places where I went today – fear did. Fear has taken over and settled in. She doesn’t leave much room for people to enter into the places where they formerly hung out. Yesterday I wrote about the world outside my window, today I experienced the world outside my neighborhood, which I don’t see unless I leave my home and go out into it. Two worlds, so close and yet so different. Today I crossed that fine line I referenced yesterday.
Will COVID-19 conquer the world? The answer to that question was given long before COVID-19 ever made its appearance here. In Isaiah 46:9-11 we read,
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. . . . What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.”
“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:8-11)
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
Yes, my Heavenly Father has a plan and His plans are always good and His plans always prevail. Always. Even over COVID-19. Especially over COVID-19. We have much to look forward to when our hope is in our Creator God.
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
sincerely, Grace Day