THAT OLD FAMILIAR FEELING

Worrying is the human condition I hate most. And I’ve worked very hard to live a life in which I have no worries. There’s no children to keep me up at night. No husband, no bad debt, no boyfriend, no extended family and while there are friends, none close enough to cause me worry…

But there is still my brother. And there is economic collapse due to global lockdown.

I’ve been working online throughout this time and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for the unfathomable privilege of having a job. One that is relatively secure, at least for now.

My brother may not be so lucky. The R-word could be hiding behind a bush that lines the path to his future. I have seen people be retrenched before. Yeah, the loss of income is horrifying but that never seems to be the worst of it. It’s that loss of identity. Of pride. Of belonging and of contributing.

My brother is all I have left. He is all I worry about these days and with this lockdown my worries are exploding. We didn’t come from much but he as managed to create a good life for him and his family. Is his job safe? Will he be okay?

On this sacred Friday I try to give my worries over to Faith. But I’m struggling. That hot lump of coal is stuck in my throat. Life has taught me that while God is always there, sometimes you don’t feel it.

This worry is an old familiar friend of mine. Through my dad’s drinking, his death, my mother’s cancer…it’s always been there in the pit of my stomach…or in my throat when things got bad.

I remember during my mom’s final days in the oncology ward of the local hospital, she was sitting up against a bunch of propped up pillows, wearing an oxygen mask. She had significant trouble breathing. As she was looking sky-wards and drawing in deeply what-ever she could, I rested by head on her knee. I looked up at that wonderful creature and thought: if we survive this, if we get through this I will never, ever worry about anything again for the rest of my whole life.

So naturally, here I am, five years after her death, worrying about my brother’s job. And the jobs of millions of other people on earth. Will we all be okay?

This planet has survived worse things I guess. It’s survived world wars, and depressions, and plagues and genocides. We will triumph; the human spirit won’t allow otherwise.

But I dread the worry. The worry on the way to triumph. It’s here and I recent its presence in my life again.

Then I remind myself that we’ve all received the gift of life but we have never been promised an easy time. And I remind myself that there are too many people in the world in worse situations than us and that I still have so much to be grateful for.

My chococino is finished. But I’ll have some tea. It feels like a tea night anyway.

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