Commentary – Choose wisely, in the little things

Pearl Lorentzen

“It is the ability to choose which makes us human,” says Madeleine L’Engle in Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.

Throughout our lives, we make millions of choices. We can’t control the outcomes of our choices, but we make choices.

During COVID-19, our awareness of how many things are outside of our control has increased.

We cannot [insert whatever is freaking you out at the moment]. We have no control over other people, but we do have control of our own actions and outlook. Each one of us can choose to obey the health measures and social distance.

We can choose to live in debilitating fear, informed hope, or somewhere in between. Hope doesn’t mean we need to always be cheerful or fine with everything that is going on. COVID-19 has permeated every aspect of our lives.

April 7, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told Albertans that the health measures will stay in place until the end of May, possibly longer. The probable peak , i.e. the highest number of cases, isn’t likely to happen until mid-May.

This challenging time isn’t going to be over soon, but we still have choices.

Early on in the pandemic, the Town of Slave Lake wisely closed the library. However, for me this was one of the hardest COVID-19 moments so far. It was the morning, I intended to return two books and borrow a stockpile. As a result of this, I stopped reading for almost three weeks.

I have an electronic reader and have some books at home. It was more than enough books for three weeks, but out of fear of running out I saved them for a rainy day. I missed out because I wasn’t willing to use the resources I had, because I was afraid of not being able to replenish my supply.

There were other aspects of my life at that time, where I made healthier choices, but it took a while for me to realize how much my not reading because of fear was a symptom of my overall outlook.

In the last week, I’ve started reading again and focusing on other little things that I can control.

A lot of the strain is economic. For the time being, I am employed and have savings. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about the world I want to live in when the crisis has passed.

Part of this is what businesses, I would like to access to when this is done. I have limited resources, but I do have resources. I can’t save any one business from going under, but I can use my purchasing power to help.

While I don’t want to see any business go under, I do need to stay within my budget, so I can’t buy something from every store, but I can focus my purchases on things that bring me joy. With this in mind in the last week, I bought homemade bread from the Fix, some books from the bookstore in my home town, and a puzzle from Southshore Hidden Treasures.

Not all choices require money. People make choices everyday. Sometimes small choices are just the thing to help keep you sane, so choose wisely.

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