We are NOT in the Same Boat: Gratitude and Support During the Pandemic

crashing waves

COVID-19 has changed lives across the planet.

One of the things I keep seeing all over social media is “We’re all in the same boat!” While I appreciate the sentiment of unity, this is far from true. We are all in the same storm, but the boats we are in are vastly different

Some of us are in great big battleships that can withstand any tempest.

These people live far away from the disease hot spots. They are only slightly if at all affected by quarantine regulations and have stable finances. They batten the hatches, hunker down and barely feel the ocean move. 

A few people are probably more like a submarine.

They just continue to move along under the surface of the storm where nothing much has changed. Their jobs are the same. They already homeschooled the kids or don’t have kids. No real change was needed to their daily routine. 

Others are in a tiny rowboat full of holes.

All of the adults in the house have lost their jobs, and the house is full to the gills with children that now have to be computer schooled. Perhaps mom is struggling with mental illness exacerbated by isolation. For many, being stuck at home with family is a nightmare due to addiction, abuse, etc. They don’t have many (if any) tools to help them stay grounded. Some may even feel like they have no boat at all to help them weather the storm. 

Reaching for help in a storm without a boat
Shafts in the Whirlwind digital painting by Emily J- The Muchness Mama

Some families feel like they just got moved from their little houseboat onto a luxury cruise liner.

Work is stable, and a stimulus check was an unneeded bonus. Everyone loves being at home. They are connecting as a family like never before and finding new joy in their relationships. Popcorn and movies every night y’all!

For most of us, our boat probably somewhere in the middle.

We’re pretty comfortable in our mid-size cruiser. Then a big wave or strong gust of wind comes and knocks us around a bit. The seas become slightly less choppy, and we’re back to sailing along with a bit of struggle. But all together, we are getting through it OK. 

What truly inspires me during this time is those people who are in a battleship or luxury liner looking around them for those who are frantically bailing water from their rapidly sinking rowboat. There are deep-sea mid storm rescues happening all around us.

milk and eggs
Photo by Wolfgang Rottmann on Unsplash

We are one of those struggling families. We’re not quite drowning yet, but our little sailboat is definitely taking a big hit. During this time, I have good friends who have provided a light in the storm and helped me keep my boat and family afloat. 

One friend showed up with a large package of toilet paper when I couldn’t find any in the stores. I’ve got eight kids – we use a LOT of toilet paper.

Another friend dropped by with a few gallons of milk when the stores would only let me buy one. Again, eight kids.

I mentioned wanting to make Playdough on Facebook, but I was unable to find cream of tarter in the stores (apparently lots of moms are making playdough now). A few days later I had a package from Amazon on my doorstep with the supplies I needed as well as a few self-care items and family fun supplies. It came from a friend I’ve only met in person once for a few hours. 

It hasn’t just been for me either.

An unknown benefactor gave us $500 delivered by a church leader. Multiple people have called to see if my husband needed some handyman or tree work to do while his trucking job is slow while everything remains shut down. I’ve also seen story after story on social media about others helping.  

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”    – Fred Rogers

What gets me through tough times is gratitude. Gratitude for those who serve. Gratitude for all the things I still have. Even gratitude for the trials that help me grow into a better and stronger person. 

As we sail through this storm together, I challenge you all to allow gratitude to change your life and the lives of those around you. Look for the helpers. They are always there.