While taking a family walk and holding hands with my nine year old we had this conversation:
Ainsley: Mom, you know how you said God created the coronavirus?
Ainsley: I think that’s right, because it allowed us to have so much quality time together.
Me: I agree, that is a nice part of what happened. I have enjoyed our time too. Do you think if you knew someone that died from this that you would feel the same way?
Ainsley: No, probably not.
Me: Things like this can be good and hard. Different people have different experiences.
About fifteen minutes later…
Ainsley: Mom, can we put a sign in the yard that says, “even if you had someone die, the coronavirus was good because it allowed a lot of people to have quality time”?
Me: Well, when people go through hard things, they don’t need us to remind them of what’s good. We can know the good things that happened or that might happen, but our job is to be with them in what’s hard for them. We can hold hope for them when they can’t.
About five minutes later…
Ainlsey: Mom, can we put a sign in the yard that says, “We are really sorry if you are lonely or had someone die because of coronavirus, we will hold hope for you”?
Me: I think that would be really incredible, Ainsley.
Right now on social media, I see everyone searching for a dominant narrative. Was this good for us? Was it needed? Was it the worst thing ever? Is it crippling our economy?
I am going to say this once.
Someone else’s experience does not have to be yours. You do not need to tell them how they are wrong. Your truth and their truth are delivered from each of your experiences.
They are both true (so long as they are not bigoted and hateful). My nine year old gets it. We can, too.