The past two years have been a brutal experience. Even if you haven’t lost a loved one, suffered distressing illness, had your livelihood threatened, or experienced the profound anguish of forced separation from those nearest and dearest to you, you are almost certain to have lived under the shadow of one or more of these.
But if you haven’t experienced any of these things, you have definitely had your day to day life disrupted, which is always an unsettling experience for all but the most emotionally detached.
Covid-19 was and remains a bastard. A bastard which amplifies many people’s long-standing anxieties about their lives and society as a whole -anxieties about the fragility of their relationships, jobs, and the public services which hold society together.
The pandemic has proved particularly shattering for anyone who has been cruelly deprived of the most profound of human contacts – for example those who couldn’t be with family members when they died, who could attend funerals. or who were unable to offer the most basic of comfort and support to relatives and friends in care homes for months on end.
The time will come for reviewing how this crisis has been handled and (as appropriate) for holding to account those who could and perhaps should have done better. But for now, as we head into another Christmas bedevilled by uncertainty about the coming weeks, months and year, The Clumpany can only suggest that we pause, take a look around, and embrace all that is dear to us.
Take a moment to stop, think, and appreciate every single person in your life that is important to you. In fact, think more deeply and appreciate how every single person you know has contributed to – and continues to enhance – your life. They won’t all make a positive contribution at all times, or indeed ever. But they are always there, and the chances are that they too are doing their best to get through each and every day, and are experiencing similar joys, frustrations and sadness as you.
We don’t all have to like each other, and it’s part of our human experience that we will sometimes loathe other people (rightly or wrongly). However, we can and should still share a sense of empathy for others in these profoundly unsettling times.
We can also take a minute to think about those wonderful moments that we all still have, and which we might ordinarily overlook as merely ‘routine’. A quick laugh with our friends – in person or online. The smile and giggle of our children. Or simply appreciating something we see – be it open countryside, the unfolding pages of a good book, or city streets which evoke warming memories.
Thankfully all of these pleasures remain available to us during the pandemic. And – gloriously – they remind us of who and what we are. As such, Covid-19 may disrupt our lives, but it does not fundamentally deprive us of the joy of being human in this crazy but wonderful world.
The Clumpany wishes you all a joyful Christmas. But if Christmas is difficult for you, may you find peace, love and support in equal measure to your need.
This blog is dedicated to Bertie Auld. A man who seemed to personify the joy of life, and whose towering personality was somehow big enough to match the scale of the Lisbon Lions’ achievement.