More than twenty boxes wait to be filled. Twenty families will come for food. Families of one and two. Families of three. Families of four. Families of five, six, and seven.
The larger the family, the more boxes they receive. We start with beans. Then more canned goods, pasta, rice, peanut butter and jelly. Bread, baking mix, mac and cheese, ramen, oil, nuts, cereal, snacks. Milk, produce, meat. Boxes stuffed with food.
Twenty families. But we only have eight rolls of toilet paper. We only have twelve bars of soap.
Who gets a roll of toilet paper? Who gets a bar of soap? They can’t come back for a month. How do we choose?
Which families get what they need today? Which families don’t?
Hospital beds were waiting empty. Now they are full. The patients in the beds need help to breathe. They need medicine. They need doctors and nurses to care for them, even though they are dangerously sick and highly contagious.
Covid-19 is an equal opportunity killer.
The killer is afoot. The killer is on the prowl.
Thousands of patients. But not enough ventilators. Not enough PPE. Not enough of many other needed supplies.
Who gets a ventilator? Which health care workers get the proper PPE? There are not enough beds. There are not enough ventilators. There are not enough masks, gowns, face shields…. There is not enough medicine to induce a coma for the ventilators to be inserted.
Which patients get what they need? Which patients don’t?
We will look back one day and know what went wrong for a country that used to be strong. A country that used to be prepared. A country that was great just a few years ago. We will see each and every word and action, or lack thereof, that allowed an equal opportunity killer to blow through our cities, towns, and country-sides.
The truth will be known.
Until then, I start with beans. I fill boxes. I randomly add toilet paper or soap.
I pray for the people I watch through glass doors as they pick up their food. We can’t help them put food in their cars these days.
They come to us dressed in all their God-ness. We wave. They wave. They are gone.
Doctors and nurses treat their patients. Patients dressed in all their God-ness. They just can’t breathe anymore. Medical personnel do everything they possibly can without enough of what they need to be the healers they are trained to be.
Then they watch through the glass windows as patient after patient dies alone in their bed. They are gone.
Doctors and nurses and first responders are gone, too.
There are more boxes. The boxes outside the hospitals are filled. There is plenty of death to fill them, there is no shortage. There is not one single empty box. The boxes are stuffed with death.
So, I pray…
God be with the hungry, the poor, the young, the old, the black, the brown, the white, the rich, the lost, the least, the elite, the proud, the confused, the dying.
Fill us like empty boxes. Fill us with you. Fill us with your goodness and your God-ness. May we be some kind of light in a very dark darkness. We are in a scary and unfamiliar place. Fill us with you. Please show yourself to us and through us in acts of kindness and mercy. Fill us with you. We will empty ourselves of your love to those around us and wait for you to fill us again. Amen.