I put my mask on, everything else I needed in my jacket pockets and hopped out of my minivan with a pep in my step. I was ready and eager to venture back in to my “happy place” a.k.a. Target. It had been weeks since I had physically been in any store thanks to the modern luxury of grocery click-lists and parking lot pickups. I was so excited to get out of the house and have the small satisfaction of victory by actually touching and buying some essentials on my own. I had no idea the effect this new “normal” would have on me emotionally when I walked in the store.
As I waited for the sweet Target employee to sanitize my shopping cart, I couldn’t help but start to tear-up seeing her work so hard to keep me safe. I round the corner to begin my essential shopping trip and find it harder to breathe with each step into this familiar, yet very different place. Silent sobs began to come out as I pass by children clinging to their mother’s hands so tightly. They were all wearing face masks and gloves. I tried to make eye contact with fellow customers but upon seeing the sadness and pain within their eyes, it all became too much for my tender heart to bear. Target, my once happy-escape-zone, is now the set of an apocalyptic movie and we are all the lead actors. We have been thrown into this “new normal” and we are all trying our hardest to keep afloat in the drowning waves of grief this pandemic floods us with at the most inconvenient moments.
Empty parking lots. Face masks for simple errands. Arming ourselves with hand sanitizer. Distance and silence. You would think after being quarantined for weeks these things wouldn’t sting as much, but can we be honest? This new reality is hard. Incredibly harder some days and it seems to hit you out of nowhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the stillness and the quality of time we are getting from this experience. I am hopeful for healing and restoration but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t ready for this eerie cloud to be lifted from us.
As believers we know God will turn this pandemic into something beautiful that glorifies His name, but for this moment, right here in the Target aisle, I’m going to be human. My prayers will be woven into both songs of praise and cries of pain. I’ll remind myself that no matter what Target looks like or how bizarre our new reality may seem, He can handle my human emotions and He will get me through just as He has always done. Little did I know, this simple trip to Target, would bring forth the tears of hurt and healing.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to Him. - Psalm 28:7