A couple weeks ago I literally bought into the fear all of all of this craziness we're experiencing. I kept hearing about these toilet paper shortages. For one morning, I was consumed with this very real scarcity. My son works at a grocery store and provided daily confirmation that the toilet paper shortage was no hoax. I saw the stories and watched the viral videos and then hopped online and ordered one package from Sam's. And I likely patted myself on the back for calmly and rationally solving a problem rather than giving into the hysteria even though it was the hysteria that led me to this purchase!
2 days later Sam's cancelled my order because they were out. More panic!
So I scoured Sam's site and every brand of toilet paper was out except one: Windsoft Jumbo Toilet Paper Rolls. You see while domestic toilet paper use has gone up, commercial toilet paper use has fallen and this was the product I could buy. So I did. 12 jumbo rolls of the kind of toilet paper you'd use at school. Or perhaps a church that doesn't like you very much. Or a restroom at a park. It's the kind of toilet paper that does the job but you don't feel great about it.
Even now I laugh at myself with that decision and how it's evidence I bought into fear. And as this time in our history becomes more of a defining moment, there’s three questions to ask yourself as this crisis become more of a permanent reality:
The first question is an easy one but also provides opportunity. Of course there’s more problems. These new problems reveal your fears and insecurities. They reveal your grief, complaining, worrying and fretting. They reveal skill sets no longer valid or needed in this a new world, whether that’s a temporary new world or a more permanent new world. You've had to rebuild completely new routines, systems, and ways of work while constantly wondering if this indeed is a new normal or a short-lived survival tactic.
The opportunity comes with the next question: who are you going to be when this is done? Who are you going to be coming out of this thing?
Most important is the last question: will you give or take? Does this time reveal you as a giver or a taker?
Times like these reveal who you are. We can buy and post and write and blog about what we value and what’s important to us. But tough times and historical moments strip away words, attention and spotlights. They unmask my pretensions and expose how I answer the core question: do I give or do I take?
Do I see what's happening in my world and take? Do I put more faith into my fear and worry? Do I allow anxiety to guide my decisions and cause me to hide, to panic and to buy cheap commercial grade one ply toilet paper get what I can while I can?!
Or, do I see what’s happening in the world and give?
Do I contribute?
Do I show up?
Do I give of who I am and what I can to continue to make a difference in the world?
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