What day is it? That is a question I ask a lot lately. Why? My routine has been altered. The daily routine has been upended. Covid-19 has changed the course of my daily life. I still go to work five days a week. But the surrounding routine has changed. I no longer must get up at 6:30 in the morning to get my son to school. He now is doing his schoolwork at home. I no longer meet my dad for breakfast. Our favorite restaurant is now take-out only. I know longer peruse the local thrift store for, yet another vinyl record I probably don’t need. There are good parts to this, I guess. I get to sleep in a little later. I get to hang out with my family more. I have more time to write. Something I am trying to get better at. But inevitably at some point, I must head to my “essential” job. I work for a warehouse club and because of what we offer to the public we are considered essential. I have seen firsthand the good the bad and the ugly that comes with panic. I have seen people try to hoard. I have seen people in tears because they couldn’t get what they need. I have seen people help one another when the need arises. I am painfully aware of the fear that everyone is going through. I see it in their eyes every day. I hear it in their voice. It is hard for me to consider my job essential. In these times I would consider first-responders, doctors, and nurses essential. I admire and respect these people. They go to work every day and put themselves in harm’s way to protect the people around them. They are willing to do this for people they don’t even know. For all intense and purposes, I work at a grocery store. I understand that people need to be able to buy food. I am glad to be there for them. I just have a hard time lumping what I do with the people in the first-responder and medical field. I have worked in retail for over 35 years. I have worked in tough situations before. I have worked through floods, earthquakes, and power outages. None of these have prepared me for what Covid-19 has brought to the table. We are changing the way we do business daily. Sometimes changes come hourly. I am proud to work for a company that is willing to listen, change and adapt that quickly. It can take a toll on you as a person. I am constantly going over rules and procedures in my head making sure you have it all right. This sometimes gives the impression that I have disengaged. I understand that and try to engage with people as much as I can. I have found that I must be intentional in this. I must get out of my own way and make sure to say hi to people passing by. Asking them if they need help. Asking them if I can get something for them. It can be exhausting but I feel that these people that have come here, left their self-isolation, deserve at least a little common courtesy. We try to stick to some semblance of normalcy throughout all of this. We still do our day to day tasks. But included in that is different stuff. We must make sure we don’t let too many people in at once. We must constantly disinfect everything. We must politely ask people to remember to social distance. All this while staying polite and approachable. People will get snappy. People will get angry. People will yell. I remind myself continually that I don’t know their story. I don’t know what happened before they showed up at my job. It would be easy to snap back. It would be easy to ignore them and walk away. I think what is most important right now is to be present. We need to listen. Listen to the heart of the individual that is hurting, that is scared and that is uncertain. We all can do that. I find myself asking people how they are. I don’t know them, but at least I can be a moment of normalcy in a chaotic time. We need to go out of our way to do little things to show that we care. It’s not the big momentous things that are important. It is the little daily things that will show people that they are loved. In this scary time, we need to be that light. We need to be to the voice in the darkness that tells people that they matter. I see it around me. I hear the laughs. I hear the kindness. I see the compassion. This will end at some point. People will go on to some idea of normal. I hope that we can retain some of the humanity that we have gained during these trying times. I hope that we can hold onto this feeling of community. I miss being able to go wherever I want to whenever I want to. I miss the easy way I could jump in my car and go get whatever I needed. At the same time, when all this is over, I will miss all the time I got to spend with my wife and kids. I will miss just sitting and looking out the windows at the trees and birds. When life gets back to “normal” will I forget to take those moments and let it all sink in? Will I be in too much of a hurry to hear what my children are saying? I hope not. I hope I can remember to savor those moments. I have spent too many years working toward the next raise, the next promotion, and the next milestone. It is time we slow down and enjoy the little things. So, while you are sheltered in place. Listen to one another. Give each other the grace to be scared. Give each other space to be heard. I have found my voice. I know others have too. This is a scary time. But it is also an amazing time. Be ok with your routine being a little messed up. Be ok with people being quick-tempered. I am trying. I am sure I fail as often as I accomplish this. But If we all try, we will bring about an amazing change. So, I just have one question for you? What day is it again?