“. . . like living in a movie”
“. . . bad dream that I can’t wake up from”
For many people, these words describe their life experience during Covid-19.
One metaphor used to describe this community situation, “We are all in the same boat.”
Are we really?
For me, it feels as though we are in the same storm, but isolated on different types of boats. I am bobbing up and down on a vicious ocean ride. And so are you.
When I look across the choppy waters, I see each of you. For miles, I can make out different types of boats – each with their own purpose and strength. I see cruise ships, yachts, houseboats, battleships, speedboats, canoes, gondolas, ferries and hovercrafts. My foggy view of your boat results in vast assumptions about the way that you are coping with the dark skies, harsh winds and loud thunder.
In my mind, yachts must be gliding through the crisis with comfort and confidence. Hovercrafts must be working hard and coming to the rescue of specific people. Battleships must be powerful and won’t allow trials to define their success. Canoes must be vulnerable and need immediate help.
Because I can only see your boat from a distance, I don’t know what’s going on inside it. Although your home is a spectacular cruise ship, I can’t see the teeny tiny hole that leaks water. You may not know it’s there either. Its size grows each week and the water gushes inside. Your boat is sure to sink if you don’t get help. I don’t come to your rescue because your boat is not showing external warning signs.
And from your line of sight, you can’t see the microburst that damages my ferry.
And we both don’t know that the simple canoe has navigated many life storms. Because of its solid build and experience, the canoe may best navigate the monsoon.
Sometimes, I feel that I’m on the vulnerable canoe. For me, times of unchosen isolation trigger memories of my daughter’s battle with cancer. I was sequestered in my home with her for several months at a time. My contact with other people, during her illness, was very minimal. The present shelter brings back familiar thoughts and feelings.
Other times, I’m the battleship – ready to fight hard and sacrifice for the people who I love. Each of us has built different sailing muscles to deal with life challenges.
Let’s keep in mind that during a storm, it is hard to see clearly. Before judging ourselves and others, let’s start by seeking more information. Sample questions:
- Am I seeing people around me clearly? If not, how can I ask good questions to help them trust me with their thoughts, feelings and needs?
- How is this crisis affecting others?
- Are my assumptions based on an external view only?
- On which type of boats are my family members, friends and co-workers?
Go even deeper – a personal reflection challenge:
- What type of boat am I on during this oceanic whirlwind?
- What strength do I offer the people near me?
- Is my vision today influenced by past storms? If so, what is the impact on me and others?
If we take time to pause and assess where we are, we’ll surely conquer the rough waves.
Photo: Courtesy Pixaby
“For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat . . . “ Isaiah 25:4 ESV
If you find this reflection helpful, please subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive email updates when I share new posts. Thank you.