No man is an island
As I sit in shock from this unparalleled time in modern history, it is important I remember that we have never been and never will be complete masters of our circumstances. I have to remind myself that it is natural to want to resist the changes that are culminating on what seems like a daily basis. I am struck by how much I have taken for granted, as what feels like in the blink of an eye, gone are the ways I have been used to living my day-to-day life. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin said, “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen”. I feel that this period will go down in history and be talked about for generations to come. How each of us chooses to show up will impact how we do or do not emerge.
In many ways, what is happening now and our collective response to it can be reflective of the five stages of grief and loss; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then ultimately acceptance. The devastating impact of the Coronavirus on individuals, and the economy, along with the freedoms we took for granted, the ability to hug our children, go to the gym, physically connect with our friends, even the abundance of food and the ease at which we acquired it, has perhaps been an important reminder of just how easily it can all be taken away.
In the face of these demanding times, we may need to accept moments in the late hours when we feel isolated and alone, along with anxious and perhaps, very small. It is important to allow ourselves to move through our emotions and let ourselves grieve a simpler moment in time. All of us remain at the mercy of uncontrollable forces to which we are challenged to submit with a measure of grace. We need to remember or perhaps learn to soothe ourselves with the patience and kindness of the compassionate parent, calming down the sobs of the distraught and fearful child we all once were, and at some levels, remain. We need to find ways that allow us to stay connected to one another, in whichever way that may temporarily be, and get through this together.
It is during this time, we are invited to hold out a hand to similarly scared and confused friends, colleagues and those we don’t know. Rishi Sunak spoke today saying, “We want to look back on this time and remember how, in the face of a generation-defining moment, we undertook a collective national effort, and stood together”. Where things go from here is anyone’s guess, but we need to build upon the good things that remain. Around us, there are astonishing acts of community care and each of us has the ability to offer something, in the way of service.
With this in mind, and to do my part to support the country’s tireless NHS workers, if you know anyone who is working in the hospitals who feels the need to talk to someone, I will make myself available, free of charge, for a FaceTime/Wattsapp call for individuals or even a small group who work together to hopefully offer some sort of refuge to those that are working so hard, to save not only individual lives but at a deeper level, the lives of us all. I believe one of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone. As we find our way over the next days and months we need to remember the words of John Donne in his book 'No Man Is An Island'; “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.