This is the Second Part in a Two-Part Series. If you missed it last week, here is Part One.

After I finished my chat with the naturopath at the health food store, I went to the bigger grocery store. I was feeling trepidation about going, but I quickly found the store has made a lot of changes. There were wipes for the carts at the entrance, everyone was staying a good distance from each other in the store, and no one was dawdling or handling the groceries, just swiftly picking them up and placing them in their carts.

I made sure as I made the rounds to thank everyone working there and tell them I appreciated them. One worker said to me jokingly, “I don’t really have a choice, I have bills to pay!” I replied, “There’s always a choice, and I very much appreciate your service.” Which is true.

So I picked up fish, some lovely fruit and vegetables, and then made my way relatively quickly to pick up a few more things. The eggs were gone. There was almost no milk; there were no paper products or cleaning products. It hit me again: this is a different world we’re living in.

As I was processing this, I rounded the aisle and passed a man who smiled widely at me. I stopped in my tracks!

“That’s the first smile I’ve seen since I got into this store,” I said.

“Hey, I hope it’s contagious,” he replied, laughing at his bad joke.

He had a lovely demeanour about him and he was right—his smile was contagious.

It was nice to see that we don’t have to have a sour face and treat everyone like an enemy. Nobody feels comfortable being out of their house right now; we’re just trying to get provisions for ourselves and our loved ones. It was such a good reminder that we can still laugh and make bad jokes right now. This is an incredibly serious, even dire situation; we can take it seriously, though, without being constantly serious. There’s no need to scowl and growl; I felt so much worry lift from me when I shared a smile with a stranger, from a distance.

I filled my own bags (the cashiers are only allowed to deal with plastic bags now) and made my way home. As I was putting my groceries away, a knock came at the door. I opened it to find a neighbour standing the prescribed six feet away for social distance, and he said, “You left your garage door open.” What a lovely way to show care!

There has been another little glimmer of joy: because it was St. Patrick’s Day, our neighbours decided to do a special scavenger hunt for the children. We were all asked to put up a shamrock somewhere on our house so the kids could walk around (separately) and count how many they could find. It was such a delight to go for a walk later myself and see how many neighbours had joined in to make the day special for all the children who are having to keep a distance from their friends.

I’m continuing to seek the lessons and reminders that are uplifting and soothing, and I hope you’re finding as many as I am.

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