As our life with the coronavirus continues you might find yourself thinking “we’re all in the same boat” and “all in it together” – because we are all navigating the challenges of school closures, lockdowns, working from home and online communicating, amongst other things.
But our capacity to manage these global challenges will vary greatly and what affects one person in one way, will be very different for someone else. Just because your circumstances appear more favourable doesn’t mean you’re not struggling, fed up, lonely, isolated.
Jude’s words remind us that we are all individuals. Our storm might be the same as everyone else’s, but our vessels, crew, capacity and strategies vary, and that’s ok.
Same Same But Different
The Coronavirus crisis is a common – even a universal – experience. But it would be a mistake to think that we are all experiencing it in the same way.
Most of the articles I read in newspapers and websites talk of “having more time than we ever had before” – usually as a precursor to recommending heartily that we all learn a new language!! Clearly, these people do not have 4 hungry, fractious Primary School children to look after from dawn til dusk!
Even so, I think how different this would be for me without my garden, and if we lived in the centre of a city, rather than a leafy village, which is quiet even on its busiest days of normal life.
My husband is working from home. It cuts the commute, but that is more than compensated for by the extra time it takes to do business via video call.
However, he has work – which he can do at home – and he is paid for it. How could our experience ever be comparable to an ambulance driver, a furloughed worker, or someone who has lost their job or had their source of income closed down and is wondering how they will go on feeding their family?
More crucial than any of these is that we are all well. We have not suffered from the virus ourselves, and we do not – at the moment – know any friends or relatives who have lost their lives to it. That is a huge difference to those who are mourning.
Even where circumstances are similar, our personalities, relationships and states of mental health are not – and these factors can set us along very different tracks of dealing with whatever life is currently bringing us. Some of us quickly adapt and confidently work out our own way through. Others get mired in self-doubt, and struggle to find a positive way to live day by day, moment by moment.
It’s good to count our blessings, but it’s not about ranking ourselves on some kind of lucky / unlucky scale. It’s about realising that even in a situation which is so international, national and all-encompassing, we are extraordinary diverse individuals in enormously different circumstances, meaning that every person’s story is different. Live what you can, as you can, and listen to all the stories, including your own.