We’re now a few weeks into lockdown and, with at least a few more weeks to come, it’s clear that we are all still working hard to find new ways of existing in this temporary new normal. We might still be trying to piece together social support and cobble together antidotes for isolation and loneliness. We might be grappling with the new technologies that have emerged as solutions to working from home and, actually, connecting with the outside world in general. Or we might be working on the frontline and simply wishing for a break.
Things might perhaps be starting to even out in terms of our ability to cope, as we get used to our day to day routines and become accustomed to how our new lifestyle needs to look for the time being. It may even be that we’re thriving and, if you are using this as an opportunity for growth or reaching new goals, that’s great. At the same time, there can be a danger in placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves in an effort to attain some of the crazy goals that we hear ‘experts’ telling us we should be striving for at this time. Or it might be that we are simply finding life harder as the days go on, stretching ahead indefinitely. It’s OK to be struggling with this version of life, it’s OK not to be and it’s OK to be somewhere in-between. What really matters is that we’re honest about it.
We only have to watch the news or glance at our screens to develop an awareness that there are plenty of other people who are facing much harder circumstances, or dealing with a great deal more pain, grief or loss than us. The risk here though, is that it can cause us to compare, and thereby downgrade our own emotions or struggles in an unhelpful way.
As Christians, it can be tempting to put a smile on our face and give the impression that we’re fine, because we know ultimately that God is good and we know it will be OK in the end. Which is true, but this does not invalidate our feelings and emotions, which God so desperately wants us to share with Him, so that He can shed His light on them and give us His peace in the midst of our turmoil. We might not get the exact answers we’re looking for, but He promises to meet us in that place, and we are always better off for time spent in His Presence. Authenticity is never a bad approach: with ourselves, with others, and above all, with God. Anything less than honesty is futile, as we rob ourselves of the privilege of sharing our heart with the one who created us and knows us inside out, coronavirus or no coronavirus. Jesus told us: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28 NLT)
A poem written by an unknown author has been doing the rounds on Social Media lately, and a friend recently share a helpful phrase from the poem with me: ’We are in the same storm but not the same boat’. Indeed, although Coronavirus is the common denominator in terms of our shared reality right now, we are undoubtedly all feeling and coping very differently. So, alongside connecting with God, it can be really helpful to share what is going on in our hearts and our minds with trusted friends, family, and colleagues. Moreover, it’s more important than ever that we come together, virtually, as Church and within our communities to support each other. We need to provide safe and healthy spaces online where it is recognised that we all respond differently in a crisis, and we each have very different needs.
With this in mind, the Team at Heaven in Healthcare are committed to developing ways in which we can keep in touch with you, however you would gauge your current feelings on the ‘OK to not OK’ spectrum. Whether you’re working from home, furloughed, or carrying out your unique, often frontline, and hugely important roles within this crisis, we want to be making a regular connection with you online.
So, in the spirit of keeping it real, we want to make you aware of a new series of short sofa style sessions, ‘In Real Life’, which airs on Facebook Live each Wednesday. Our most recent episode is here
We’d love you to tune in, let us know your thoughts at email@example.com or share the content with someone you know who might find it helpful.
Helen Davies, Heaven in Healthcare Team