They Were Out of Oats

This morning as my husband and I were drinking our coffee while listening to the latest updates regarding COVID 19, we discussed what items we needed from the grocery store. I mentioned we could use some oatmeal.

When he returned from the store, his five-word comment threw me for a loop, “They were out of oats.” His statement was matter of fact - a simple phrase.

Two weeks ago when I was working with other colleagues in Canada, we turned from marketing to jokingly discussing options of how we could get home should they cancel flights due to the reality of COVID 19. An epic road trip in a rental van was our solution, if flights cancelled. There’s nothing like the possibility of being stuck in another country to bring you back to reality pretty quickly. We all made it home on our flights with no issues and returned to our towns and cities to face our new reality.

Which brings me back to this morning…

In my life, I’ve seen gas shortages, weather catastrophes, and 9/11. All were frightening in their own way at the time. While I felt sick for those affected, these events always felt at arm’s length. It was like looking into a snow globe and watching someone else’s reality take place. Not today.

A simple five-word phrase this morning over coffee, hit me in the face. “They were out of oats.”

I’ve taken for granted something as simple as having oats for breakfast. What grocery store runs out of oats? Ours did. It was surreal. Surreal that within just a few weeks, we can no longer dine in restaurants, events we’re cancelled, and meetings of 10 or more are prohibited.

The travel industry I’ve loved and worked in for nearly 25 years is bleeding out. Colleagues are losing jobs. Housekeepers and wait staff are trying to figure out how to keep a roof over their heads, feed their children, and pay their utilities. Airports are empty. Vacations have stopped. Business people are no longer taking meetings. Everything that “starts with a visit” is at a standstill.

I write this out of my own nervousness but also to put the words on paper so that I can get them out of my head. I need to focus on being a productive person.

As I recognize we may be out of oats today, people may have lost jobs today, the world looks like a scary place today, I also know this is our current reality. It is not permanent. We WILL survive this. It will involve tears, fear, laughter, prayer, and hope. No matter how full we are with our thoughts, there’s always room for hope.

Today, I work from my makeshift desk, looking out the window as the sun comes up. The mesquite trees are leafing out. I see the first hummingbird of the season, flittering around the feeders to drink the nectar. Life is still good. Hope is in the air!