Where Is Your Treasure?
One impact of Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns in the UK and globally is that we are all having to dig deep into our own resourcefulness and resources. Some of us are being required to live off 80% of our normal wage, some of us (me included) off next to nothing as income sources dry up. Worse of course is that lots of people are facing or have faced redundancy with little prospect of an immediate return to gainful employment. Piggy banks and savings accounts are having to be raided at an alarming rate.
Recently, I came across a worrying phenomenon though – it is apparent that some people seem to resent having to dig into their savings and live off that for a while. Odd that. Surely, the whole point of storing up some wealth from the good times is to be able to open the store cupboard when the bad times come. Life cycles are like that.
For thousands of years, mankind has lived like this. And yet in our ‘everything should be available all the time’ twenty first century consumer mindsets, this appears to be an anathema to some of us. It is certainly going to be tough for many to shift their thinking during these pandemic times. But if we are to cope, then we may have to.
How do we shift our thinking?
One way to shift our thinking could be to consider this bigger question. What other treasure have I been storing up, other than simple monetary savings, that can provide some comfort in these times? (I may not have any financial savings for example). The principle at work here is that whether intentional or subconsciously, we are constantly investing emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and that these investments rarely have any financial ticket attached. Such a storehouse has nothing to do with our bank accounts but has everything to do with other equally (some would say more so) important sources of wealth and genuine value to our souls. Moreover, it is also a critical factor in our personal resilience during such a stressful time for many.
Consider for a moment why it is that neighbours are willingly looking out for each other or why young children are looking after their aged relatives with visits and parcels. What motivates a husband and wife to set up the biggest foodbank in downtrodden Cornwall for example, and to have scores of volunteers eager to help them distribute food, encouragement and practical love. What is going on at a below the surface level during a simple slow walk in nature with a loved one and a dog? Or during a crazy game played over a video link with members of a friendship group? Or when nurses and doctors stand to applaud someone who has recovered from Covid after weeks in intensive care. I could go on.
These seemingly small events and moments happen for all of us and if we are able to tune in to this different wavelength, we will find that we are rich indeed, both individually and as a society and nation. Our challenge is to open our eyes and ears, to notice and embrace them. Then to draw from this reserve frequently to remind us that we can be resourceful against all the odds if we see beyond the obvious. That we need not consistently surrender to the doom mongers. Choose a simpler and readily accessible form of treasure.