Wednesday was RU ok? day.
I rang a friend on Wednesday and asked him that question. Not in any general sense, or because it was ‘that’ Wednesday, but because I knew that he and his wife were facing a very difficult few days. An old tumour on her spinal column that had been excised 15 years ago had unexpectedly returned. They were in the middle of having to navigate the hospital system during this very challenging pandemic. Her COVID test showed negative and now she is ready for admission next Tuesday for MRI’s and then surgery on Wednesday.
A 12 hour microscopic operation lies ahead followed by days and weeks of uncertainty regarding whether any damage to her ‘system’ has been averted, is temporary or becomes permanent. She, they, are very pragmatic about it all and display what is one of the most endearing and admirable qualities of being human – the capacity to endure.
In that specific context, ‘RU ok’ seems a bit fatuous. But such a question is never wasted on any day of the year. Because we are so good at saying ‘I’m ok’ even when we are not. The thing is, it really is ok to say: ‘I’m not ok’.
A pandemic has a way of washing over and obscuring what it is like for so many individuals who are already wrestling with a raft of personal challenges; stress in their relationships, domestic violence, difficult adolescents, physical constraints, anxiety and depression, etc etc etc. Many of these pre-existing circumstances only being exacerbated rather than exposed by what we are all having to endure at the moment. All of us in Victoria that is. But we are seeing signs of breakthrough as the number of cases is falling and the number of people dying declining – thankfully.
There is light at the end of this very long tunnel – as the saying goes: This, too shall pass.
And if we are not feeling ok – well, it’s ok to endure and it’s also ok to tell someone else if we are struggling. We don’t have to ‘endure’ everything on our own.