Panic buying has emptied the shelves of Sydney supermarkets and the crazy thing is, instead of non -perishable food disappearing from the shelves, its no…toilet paper.
You can’t buy tissues; you can’t buy paper towels. Why? Because everyone who can’t buy toilet paper is buying the next available item to replace it with.
I didn’t panic buy.
I didn’t do anything different.
But those fearing the zombie apocalypse brought on by the corona virus have bought out the supplies and stockpiled them in their toilet paper bunkers at home.
Why toilet paper?
If you’ve no food, you won’t be eating.
If you can’t eat you won’t need it.
Pretty soon we’ll be down to newspaper, then packaging, then leaves.
Maybe I’ll pop around to your house and use your loo, O great stock pilers of Sydney.
My wife's just ordered a starter pack from 'who gives a crap'...toilet rolls made from bamboo that support third world communities...who'd have thought?!
Never in my life have people been genuinely afraid on the scale we are seeing.
First, we faced extended and widespread drought.
But us city folk were Ok, we fear and feel sorry for the farmers, but it doesn’t really affect our lifestyle.
Until the prices hike. Then we squeal.
Second, we got scorched by the summer to end all summers of catastrophic bushfires.
In my life, I’ve never seen so many, so big, so unstoppable …fires.
Tourism was smashed, summer business trade was sapped of all energy, people everywhere we laid off.
We’re still reeling from the emotional, physical and economic damage of the fires and it will be sometime before the country recovers.
Third, and in God’s kindness the weather, after months of heat, changed, the southerlies hit, and the cyclones up north brought heavy rain.
Deluges and deluges.
We ain’t seen so much rain for so long.
But so much rain cost us, too.
Trees fell, power lines went down, city folk lived in darkness for a week while they patched the electricity wires back together. Homes and businesses were flooded, cars crashed, hail fell and wreaked havoc.
It was like the environment was biting us on the ass.
Pay back for our sins.
And where does this all leave us?
On high alert.
Cumulative fear and anxiety are on the rise.
Counselling services are experiencing not just the usual depression and suicide calls but calls about general anxiety and hopelessness.
Fourth came the horse with a plague, the corona virus.
Like a tipping point and we are all on edge, set to panic buying crazy things like toilet paper.
I mean, if it was a gastro bug…I get it. Lots of paper.
But I don’t remember the flu keeping me poised over the porcelain.
Why not bottle water?
Why not eucalyptus/sinus tablets?
As we face such threats to human life, the big take home surely must be we are mortal and any illusion we had of being in control and boasting about tomorrow is the emperor without his clothes.
Our rock of financial security-means we can buy toilet paper…and wave it we shall…at a killer virus. Just like we can wet our gutters and gardens to hold back the summer infernos.
Our rock of good sanitation means we can slow and quarantine but not stop the spread of disease.
Perhaps since the great depression, or the World Wars, terrifying, life threatening events, that we didn’t share, ‘our generations’ are suddenly afraid.
Where else are we to go?
TO MORE TOILET PAPER!
Surely such events ought to drive us to reflection and soul searching.
Surely, we can feel the fragility of our mortality and the shakiness of our perceived certainty.
We must search for something more solid, a true rock.
But who or what are we calling out to?
Do we want a real savior or just a free lunch maker, like the crowds that followed Jesus?
In Jesus Christ we have that certainty and solid ground.
We as believers in Him are not excused from all the perils of humanity in the now, but we know our lives are in His sovereign, loving hands. His care is eternal and so even death will not be the end. He will rescue, he will have mercy.
We know that if we survive in the now, it will also be because of his mercy, not our ability. The conditions will change, the virus abate.
Sharing your holey (holy?) haul
The doorbell rings.
A friend kindly arrives with a box.
She has scoped out 9 supermarkets, seeking the lost, until she finally found what she was looking for.
Instead of hoarding her haul, she is doing the rounds sharing her bounty with people like us.
What a great example.
Likewise, let’s not horde the good news, lets pray we can dole it out generously, just as God has so generously ladled his kindness into our lives.
Let’s also pray for our nations, that these events might awaken people’s souls.
Let’s pray they might search and find the true rock, Jesus.
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