(Estimated reading time 1 minute)
I have found myself increasingly annoyed by people trying to ascribe meaning to the pandemic we are currently experiencing. This distaste rises in me like bile, and I can’t get rid of it. If I self-coach, I know that this irritation indicates something I value that is not being honoured. I want to rip those posts from social media, shout at those who discuss excitedly about the opportunity for change in our world. Do I agree that this pandemic creates a global pause, and we’ll get to decide what song we play next? Yes. Do I whole-heartedly agree that COVID-19 is forcing us to include what we’ve so far been unwilling to look at? Yes, I do. And I know that there is more than this “looking beyond” to what we can make of it, to the ways it can change our world for the better. What I know is that lonely people are stuck alone at home right now. People are missing their prom or the wedding they dreamed of. People are worried they won’t see their parents again or that their spouse might die. Others are working their fingers to the bone to help people even though they’re afraid. I know that people are dying. Those people are not going to see a new and better world. Those people are not going to get through it. Can we just take a minute while we’re still in the middle of all of this to honour those in the thick of it who can’t see past the next person who is so sick they need medical intervention? Can we take the time to grieve with those who are grieving? Can we stop trying to bypass the pain in order to get to the meaning? It doesn’t work that way.
“Each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint. But what everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed. That doesn’t mean needing someone to try to lessen it or reframe it for them. The need is for someone to be fully present to the magnitude of their loss without trying to point out the silver lining.”
David Kessler, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief
If you want to listen to Brene Brown’s interview with David Kessler on grief and finding meaning, you can find that here.
Sue Das, Courage Coach, CPCC, ACC, B Soc Sc (SW)
If you want to learn more about coaching with me or if you wish to connect with me and have a virtual coffee, you can do that here.
5 thoughts on “No Silver Linings Yet Please”
Thank you, Sue, for articulating what so many of us probably instinctively know is the truth.
I myself have been guilty of posting about sunshine and unicorns. I was making a presumption that my audience was looking for encouragement in their labours to battle heroically through this pandemic. And maybe that’s true of some of them.
Life is messy. Suffering and death are inevitable. When we face and engage these realities head on, we become changed into people with empathy and the right priorities. Then we will know, after the fact of this pandemic, how to use our energies to make changes for the better functioning of our societies.
In the process of trying to be brave in staying the course and be present in the midst of this challenging moment I, for example, am selectively putting some issues in my back pocket that I will address with my government officials after this is over. But right now I need to stay in the now and find ways to comfort, provide for, and protect loved ones and strangers alike. Until then, like you, Sue, I will try to avoid romanticizing this tragic crisis.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you, Susan. This is so well articulated. I don’t think providing hope and encouragement in dark times are the same as trying to make meaning from the pandemic. while we’re neck deep in it all. I like the idea of tucking things in the back pocket to deal with after this is all done. There are things that need to change but for now let’s be present to those who are struggling with grief and loss. Let’s not try to pole vault out of the pain to get to meaning before it’s time.
This pandemic, and the selfless efforts by so many, refutes the false premise of capitalism: that we are all just in it for ourselves, so let the market decide. No, people have always counted on each other, right from our earliest tribes around a campfire. We need strong government and reduced corporate greed. We already have the good-hearted people.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ve been thinking about this Sue. How are you doing?
Seems like a very strong reaction against optimistic posts – where are you at now? And what would it look like if you could hold both at once?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, it’s a very strong reaction for someone who is normally so hopeful. Thank you for checking in. I appreciate that and will say that I am doing better now. Holding both at once now seems more possible.