Do you ever feel guilty for keeping on with life when there is so much darkness and unfairness in the world, or in the middle of a personal or family crisis, or maybe even during a pandemic?
I remember when we first went on lockdown in late March of 2020, and it seemed everything stopped for a minute while we all gasped at the possibilities and danger of what could happen. There was an eery silence you could hear everywhere, even online. And then, a little bit of light. People started posting ideas on what to do with extra time. Covid-19 memes were popping up everywhere. Late-night television figured out how to keep us laughing. And people were online shopping and selling. Lots of ‘em, including me.
I felt pangs of guilt. How dare you concern yourself with entertainment and fun while the world is crumbling around you? People are dying. Your friends are at work on the front line. And you’re putting up posts about self-care and face masks? What is wrong with you???? How dare you carry on? How dare you be well? How dare you keep your business alive? How dare you be at home and not at work when your colleagues are putting their lives on the line? How dare you laugh when others are suffering?
Similar questions come to me often, and not just during a crisis. How do I enjoy life when others are in pain? They run in the background of my brain all the time. If you are human, and aware, and give even a tiny shit about anyone else, there is no way you haven’t felt the same at some point.
A Little Thing Called Survival
The answer to all of these questions is the notion of resilience. Of course, we care. Of course, we are grateful. But our need to survive and protect ourselves is what continues to drive us. Even if it comes in the form of online shopping. We are hard-wired to stay alive, and resilience is how we do it. Resilience protects us and helps us maintain balance during stressful times. It is vital to our survival. And thank God we have it. Because some days, things seem way too dark to ponder for more than a minute.
So the next time you see someone posting a meme, laughing, or shopping in the middle of a world or personal crisis, don’t assume anything. Chances are, they trying to survive, just like you and me. And they are showing resilience. Maybe they are saying a silent prayer. Maybe they are donating to a cause. Maybe they are on medication. Maybe they have been crying for the last two weeks. You just don’t know. Send them some love instead, and then send some to yourself when you’re done.