Desolate

The world changes around us, not only because of what we do but often by things out of our control. It can be a lonely place when we think we are alone, going over the struggles in our own mind, and trying to fix them all by ourselves. With countries around the world going in to full lock-down, restricting non-essential movement outside of home and stopping people coming in or out of the country, social distancing is becoming a temporary norm as an effective method in stopping the spread of coronavirus. As many of my friends say this is not cause for social isolation. That way lies desolation and despair.

My brother and sister and I are close and enjoy spending time together. One difficulty with current travel restrictions is not being able to see them in person. This is sad, but has meant we look for alternative ways to spend time together. Video-chat and group-chat apps have made this easier to achieve, and last night the three of us tried something a bit different. We started a group voice call on Facebook, and logged into Board Game Arena to play some board games while social distancing. I’m sure it is not revolutionary, and has definitely been done before by others, but it was good to be involved in a successful new thing for us. It certainly makes set-up and pack-down of board games a lot easier – we managed to play two games the three of us had not heard of before! And they were relatively successful, with enough understanding to play well, even with little time spent reading the rules. It’s also nigh on impossible to break the rules, intentionally or unintentionally, because legal moves and turns have been automated on the website. Another great benefit of playing board games this way.

None of this replaces the necessary benefit we humans get from actual positive physical human contact. This is not something that can be replicated with a screen, by typing on a computer, or speaking into a microphone. It can feel a rather hopeless thing, stopping physical contact, even when we know it is a necessary action to look after the world and all its wonderful people. Keep reaching out. BUT engage in social activity with the ones we love in a way that ensures we all stay safe.

For me, navigating the hard work if applying for jobs and trying to look forward to working each day has been part of my feelings of desolation. I started a job on Friday, but the changes in the world have meant I feel uncertain about what this will mean. For, even if my workplace moves to working remotely from home, what does that mean for me, someone who has yet to complete their training in the tasks they are responsible for? I cannot predict the future, and it is not solely for me to come up with the solution. But, this feeling of ‘what does this mean for me?’ nags at the back of mind.

I am also yet to find a permanent place to live, and this means I’m yet to find space I can feel wholly comfortable. The flatmates I am living with temporarily are amazing. They are kind, and caring, and always looking out for me. But my pride still has me subconsciously feeling like I’m stepping on toes. I keep looking for places to move but with the continuing spread of coronavirus it’s not the easiest time to be looking. If I find somewhere is there a likelihood me moving in, bringing my belongings out of storage, could potentially harm the social-isolation? Could potentially harm people?

All these things have me feeling uncertain. And I am lucky not to be in one of the at-risk groups the spread of the virus is most dangerous for. What I can do, the only thing I can do, is focus on today. Where am I putting my feet? How can I be a good human to those around me? What can I do to prepare for tomorrow in the best way I can?

I must turn to God and pray. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or how to make it through the uncertainty. But He does.

Social distancing, not social isolation. We are all in this together. Whatever struggles we face will not disappear because of Covid-19 spreading around the world, but we need to change the way we face them.

Work together, at a safe distance. Choose kind, by engaging in intelligent social distancing. Be good humans.

Peace to you, dear readers.

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