Last night, our cook top died suddenly while my husband was preparing dinner. In normal times, that would be an inconvenience, and we might grumble about having to finish cooking the pasta on the outdoor barbecue, but these aren’t normal times.
For the past twenty-one days, Nevada has been on a voluntary lock-down due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Our mayor and governor issued directives to all Nevadans to stay home, although they didn’t officially call these “shelter-in-place” orders. Non-essential businesses were ordered to close, which included dine-in restaurants, bars, retail shops, salons, and a myriad of other small businesses. Many people across the U.S. and around the world are living in similar circumstances.
My husband and I are of a certain age, which puts us in the group considered most vulnerable to the virus, and my husband has mild asthma which could complicate matters if he should fall ill. We have followed the public health guidelines of frequent hand washing, social distancing, limiting our trips to the grocery store. Just three days ago, our mayor directed everyone to wear protective face masks when they venture out of their homes. I spent the weekend sewing cloth face masks for family and friends, and I will place any extras in the Little Library down the street for neighbors to take.
All this is a prelude to last night’s untimely death of the stove, and my resulting gratitude.
So why am I grateful?
Well, first, I’m grateful that we have a house with a patio where we keep our grill. Many people experiencing this world-wide quarantine aren’t so fortunate.They live in cramped quarters without access to the outdoors. I have alternate means to prepare meals until we can obtain a replacement cook top.
I’m grateful that I can order and pay for the replacement. Millions of people in the U.S. have lost their jobs and don’t have money for groceries, let alone to replace a costly appliance.
I’m grateful for the essential workers who will ship my cook top, or drive the delivery truck to my home. These people risk illness to themselves and their families to provide services to other people. They may not be well-compensated or have appropriate protective gear, yet they report to work every day.
This disease and the resulting quarantine has forced the world to a halt, and the effects will be long-lasting, and devastating in ways we can’t yet imagine. But it’s also made me recognize the many blessings I have in my life: family close by, adequate food and resources, access to wide open spaces to walk–things I would normally take for granted. I realize I live a life of privilege–a word I would not have used before now.
And for that, I am grateful.