One of the funny things about being human is that, for a lot of us, our default position has become something less than positive. Sometimes, we can find ourselves so determined to find the negative side of something, that the negative side of it is all we can see.
There has always been light and shade.
Even though lightness can be harder to recognise than darkness in our lives at times, there is always both sides of the coin available to us. The phrase, ‘it could be worse’, has never been more true. As I write this, people are literally fighting for their lives in Intensive Care departments of hospitals, unable to have any of their family or friends even sitting with them to comfort them. Nurses and medical staff are working extended shifts caring for these people, and providing a sense of love and care and support to make up for the lack of family and friends in the room with these patients. And people are losing these people from their lives, without even being able to say goodbye, or tell them they love them, or hold their hand when they are at their most frightened and confused.
It could definitely be worse.
Can’t is easy to get stuck in.
I can’t do anything about that. I can’t help those people. I can’t take the shift of those nurses in the ICU. I can’t make any changes to health policy. I can’t change government’s minds. I can’t stop this pandemic. I can’t make everything better for everyone.
All of that might be true. But just because the can’t is easy to get bogged down in, doesn’t make it our only choice. Frustration and anger and grief and loss all keep us stuck in the can’t, but there is another option. We can look for what we can do. We can concentrate on the positive side of the ledger, even if it’s just concentrating on what other people are doing that is positive until we can do something similar.
What can we do instead
of what we can’t do.
So what CAN we do?
Well, we can be responsible for our health, and the health and safety of our community. We can wash our hands. We can maintain good hygiene, and maintain good social distance from each other. We can stay up to date with recommendations and guidelines given to us by experts in public health. We can reach out to people, we can phone or Zoom or text one different person every day to ask if they are OK. We can help. We can laugh, and we can make other people laugh. We can create, and encourage other people to do the same. We can read, and we can watch things on TV that are brainless and silly and 100% distraction for a little while. We can start that book, or finish that project that we are normally always too busy to put the work into. We can train, we can work towards a physical goal that we have had for a while, and we can develop new goals. We can eat, and smile, and think, and hope, and dream. We can live.
Yes, finding and being stuck in the darkness is easier sometimes. Now, maybe more than ever.
But that doesn’t mean light isn’t there too. We just have to find it. That’s something we can definitely do.