This week, Maria Rushe has an important reminder that it's okay to feel overwhelmed or to falter as we weather this storm that is Covid-19.
Aren’t you lucky you have a job?
Aren’t you lucky you have your health?
Aren’t you lucky you can work from home?
Aren’t you lucky you don’t have to…fill in the blank…
Oh how lucky indeed.
These days, we really are counting blessings. The turmoil of the past 7 months has seen us face challenges and fears daily. And we have all tuned into our own gratitude. We’re being reminded each day on social media, in staffrooms, in conversations with loved ones, of the things that we should be grateful for.
I’ve done it myself.
I’ve bounced the usual cliches around in conversations.
“Sure aren’t we lucky we have a job” in the staffroom.
“Aren’t you lucky you can work from home?” to a friend on the phone.
“Aren’t you lucky you can still go to college?” to one of the sisters.
“Aren’t we lucky we still have a business?” to the husband.
“Aren’t you lucky you can go to school to see your friends?” to my daughters.
“Aren’t you lucky you have family to worry about?” to myself in the mirror.
And indeed we are.
Jesus I do not need anyone to tell me how lucky I am. I’m fully aware and I’m grateful everyday.
We all have things in our lives that we are grateful for and appreciative of.
We are all able to know that we have much to be thankful for.
I’ve watched people I know and care about lose loved ones and deal with the worst imaginable pain over the past few months.
I feel heart-break for people who are dealing with so very much right now.
I feel enraged for those who are facing injustices and hardships.
Some of my friends who are facing incredibly difficult times, seem to be more grateful than I can imagine myself being if I walked in their shoes. They amaze me every day. I don’t know if I could ever be as positive as they are.
And I never will, because I do NOT walk in their shoes.
And here is my point.
The current climate is a difficult one. It’s more difficult for some than for others.
And yet it is difficult for all.
I love the quotation of “We’re not all in the same boat, but we’re in the same storm”. I don’t know who said it first, but I absolutely agree.
Over the past week, I’ve faltered. My smile was more forced. My positivity plummeted. My rage soared and my frustration got to the point where I cried constantly for more than a few hours. I’ve been trucking on, focusing on all of the reasons that I’m “lucky”, and yet suddenly, MY little boat was rocked with a tsunami of grief and sadness and overwhelm and anger and fear. We have all lost out. We all miss people. We all feel sadness what we can no longer do.
I spoke to my husband. (well, spoke…sobbed at…same thing right?)
I spoke to my brother.
I spoke to my sister.
I spoke to my friend.
And each and every one of them, was able to empathise and comfort me. In fact, most of the people I’ve spoken to have felt the same over the past few weeks; some more than once.
So what is it? How is it that I, who really and truly do know that I’m “lucky” and in the grand scheme of things, fell apart and raged at the world for a few days?
Because I’m human, that’s how.
You might have “nothing to complain about”.
You might have few financial worries.
You might be blessed that those you live are in good health.
You might have so far avoided the virus.
You might be quite content with your work arrangements.
But you, like the rest of us, are still existing in a new world, where there is a constant undercurrent of stress and anxiety.
We are all on high alert. We are all living in that adrenaline buzz of being ready for the next twist or drama that the headlines hurl at us. We are all in fight or flight mode at all times. Even if we haven’t yet realised it.
Even those of us who think we’re fine and proclaim that we’re not paying attention to it, are entitled to have days where it all seems a bit bleak.
None of us can claim to be immune from the social anxiety that holds hands with the virus.
We are all perfectly within our rights to be angry and frustrated and upset at the personal losses and grievances that we are facing.
And just because the person next to you seems “lucky” and doesn’t seem to have anything to complain about, doesn’t mean that they aren’t feeling the weight of this pandemic.
There is no monopoly on overwhelm. We must all try to have empathy for each other and look out for each other. We must never get to a place where “Sure what do YOU have to be stressed about?” becomes acceptable…because we are all entitled to feel ALL the emotions.
We are indeed all in different boats and we are all simply trying to keep our own boat afloat.
And everyone’s boat will float a little better through this blasted storm, if we worry about our own boats.
Check in on your friends. Check in on your family. Check in on the last person you would think you need to check upon. They might just be glad that you do. And so will you.