By: Angela Early
If there’s anything that we can look back at on after this whole pandemic passes us by and life returns to normal (whatever that looks like), it may very well be that there may be some solidarity among the masses. Those who have always struggled and never seem to catch a break will find new faces in the food bank lines. There will be new faces that bear the face of shame, humiliation and anger in their new roles. Abundance and prosperous times never tell us that trouble that is brewing. Beyond economists, no person could portend the results that shutting down the whole economy would have on literally everyone. Perhaps we could’ve assumed some problems would surface, but the actual realities looked quite different than we may have envisioned.
The educated and the uneducated alike will have to see each other for the first time and be forced to deal with new economic realities. Many people have lost their jobs, their health insurance, just about anything that made them who they were. Nobody is immune to economic devastation; it can happen to most anyone at any given moment. Life looks different to those who’ve lost so much. Those accustomed to extending out their hand for help will recognize the newbies, and hopefully offer them some grace. Struggling is not an easy place to be.
While it’s a new position to be in for some, it’s just another day for many, now forced to compete in the line for a space at the table (or for the food to put there). The poor, the sick, the elderly are now competing with the middle class, the healthy and the young are now all asking for social assistance. It’s worth mentioning that nobody who’s asking for help likes asking. Nobody does. It’s hard on the heart, it bruises the ego, and it can easily turn an otherwise decent person into a bitter, angry one. Everyone knows that “pride goeth before a fall”, but sometimes, pride is clung to long after the actual fall.
Many reasons pride lingers for some is that they may have based so many of their firmly entrenched views on the belief that the less fortunate are the sole creators of their own problems. If they had a job, or received an education, they wouldn’t be stuck where they are. It’s their own fault they’re poor. The old school logic that people need to pick themselves up by their bootstraps doesn’t work in this scenario. Now the fortunate are those people who need help, and how do they now reconcile that fact with their views that the poor and underprivileged deserved their fates?
With our newfound solidarity with each other, we may need to also re-evaluate our priorities. Maybe those outward signs of success will give way to new measures of it. Success may be found in our contentment with what remains, when the scorched earth left over teaches us that what was valuable before matters little in the present moment. Everything we go through is meant to teach us a lesson. We will emerge from this completely changed from the people we were before it. Starting over is a beautiful thing. You can become the person you were meant to be, a person without judgment, a person with grace, offering the same for everyone else as well. That in itself is a beautiful place to start from.
Angela describes herself as a young(ish) mom of three beautiful kids, trying to finish school after a long hiatus and lacking tech savvy, pretty funny, somewhat smart, and loves to read and write. The editor takes issue with the assertion that she’s somewhat smart, and/or pretty funny. There is no somewhat or half-way to this writer. She is brilliant.