When I started out writing this post it was going to be called ‘Encouragement’, as that is what my weekly posts on a Friday or Saturday are all about. Some things happened and I started to think more critically about what I was trying to say. Sometimes we can’t see where encouragement is coming from, or the direction we are being encouraged to move, or what the point of moving is at all. For each of us why this happens is different, but a big part of processing it is sharing the burden in whatever ways we are able.
For me, unbearable feelings have generally come in two forms:
- A deep sense of loneliness or a feeling I’m not going to find someone to spend my life with.
- The feeling I’m incapable of succeeding at anything and there is no point in in trying.
For the past three years I’ve actively worked on being able to identify times when I am likely to feel these things. Knowing this doesn’t make them any less unbearable, but it means I am able to talk to people while I still have the energy, and organise my time and energy to help me cope with them. It also helps me to think pragmatically about why I may be feeling them at a particular time, and what underlying things might actually be causing them. There is not always a reason, but even knowing this sometimes eases the pain because I know not to search for a cause, but simply feel the feelings and be ok with that.
Covid-19 has been a haven of uncertainty all around the world. The virus itself is terrible, and for many of us the steps being taken to mitigate the most terrible outcomes are also unfamiliar and scary. Isolation is a word which screams to me of loneliness. Thanks to the wonders of technology we are able to keep in touch with people all around the world, we are able to virtually be with family and friends, we are able to be together. It is very different than being in the same physical space and being able to hug one another, but I am thankful we are able to meet in this way. I have been in contact with friends I had not talked to for a while, some for several years. I have realised the joys of speaking to family more often, even if this comes with its own foibles. I have found I really miss congregating at church and meeting in person with my bible study group. Most of all, I have been thankful that my bubble, the people I am physically living in the same house with, have been amazing people to be with over the past two months.
There are those who are not so fortunate. Their bubble does not feel as much like a home. Covid-19 has taken the lives of people within many bubbles. The configuration of some bubbles has changed for many different reasons.
Even now New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 2, we are far from ‘normal’. The world is a different place than it was before the pandemic tore through the world. Let us manage this together, as people in the world who care about one another. Offer a hand to help someone up when you see they are need. Offer a shoulder for support when you see someone stumble.
I am a different person to the one I was three years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. I am wiser, and better understand the benefits of caring for others and letting them care for me. We are all different people. The key is to learn from what has come before and make changes that are for the better. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Michele L. Sullivan says it better than I ever could, and I encourage you to watch her very relevant Ted talk.
It requires courage to admit we cannot do something on our own. In uncertain times, like the ones we are living through right now, helping each other is something we need to do more than ever. We are not called to rescue, but to be guiding lights to help each other find the way, the truth, and the life.
Embrace peace. Love, always, dear readers.