How do you define who you are when the job you loved is gone? That’s the question now facing millions of Australians.
For decades we have defined ourselves by our employment, and by extension our status in society too. In the COVID era all that is gone. The economy has shrunk by 6-percent and a seismic shift in prosperity looms like a shadow over us all.
This is going to leave many people feeling adrift, searching for a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. Ironically, I think some of the most valuable coping lessons can come from the homeless.
I’ve been helping the homeless and chronically unemployed for over half a century and I’ve learned many have an innate dignity. A dignity which says: “I might be down, but I know I matter”.
This is a powerful mantra. Almost every day I witness the beauty of the human soul. Usually I see it in people who have hit rock bottom with nowhere further to drop. It is at that moment that the way forward often appears.
What was once important – status, money and the corporate ladder – falls away as truth, honesty and a new sense of being shine through. More so than anything it seems love is the unshakeable core that survives. That’s what we can all hold on to in this pandemic.
COVID might take away your job. It might sweep away your status. But it can’t take away your loving relationships. These are what give our lives real meaning.
If we rediscover that, we will naturally reach out in times of need and help each other. As John Lennon said “Love is the answer, and you know that for sure”.