The Essentialness of Walmart and Story

by | Mar 25, 2020 | Heidi's Updates

You are essential….

Many of you know that when I’m not writing, I work part-time at Walmart Pharmacy. I started in the Lawn and Garden department four years ago. This was pre-writing contract, a way to bring in some money and get out of the house at night in the midst of homeschooling our two boys. I eventually switched over to the pharmacy and last year I became certified as a technician.


Most of the time, I love my job. I love the people I work with, the customers I’ve gotten to know, and the inspiration a place like Walmart can give for a myriad of story ideas.

When Massachusetts shut down all non-essential businesses this past Tuesday, I faced the fact that, like so many of you, I was considered “essential” in this fight against COVID-19. It was a weird thought. Because to me, the essential part was always writing and telling stories, not my part-time job at Walmart. And while helping people get their medicines is certainly essential, I truly believe that stories are also essential in this battle. And I think we’re seeing it now more than ever….


When we see the story of Italian citizens, forced into their homes for their own good, yet uniting in song.


When a group of family and friends (in individual cars, of course!) arrange a drive-by parade for a four-year-old’s birthday celebration.


When a woman comforts an 81-year-old lady crying in a grocery aisle, fearful there isn’t enough and even if there is that her $37 won’t stretch for what she needs. When that same woman buys groceries for the elderly lady and even gives her a ride home to save her the fare of a taxi.


When a 72-year-old Italian priest dies after giving his respirator to a young stranger.


When a low-risk person simply stays home, doing their part to stop the spread of the virus.


When any of us sacrifice, even a small bit, for the greater good.


These are stories that are essential in the fight against an invisible enemy.


Yes, there are the sad stories too. But I can honestly say, being out in the public during this chaotic time, that for every person getting angry about the line they have to stand in, there are three people giving up their spot in line for a needier person than themselves.


This is a time of contradictions. A time where ordinary workers who stock grocery shelves become heroes. A time where faith has the power to replace fear. A time where the Holy Spirit unites worshipers miles apart in a virtual church service. A time where people come together in a bond against an invisible enemy while being kept isolated from one another.


Yes, there are the bad stories, birthed from fear. But the good one are so much stronger. So keep creating them. Keep telling them. Keep living them.


You are essential in this battle.

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