This weekend will be the first weekend of enforced (or voluntary) isolation. For many still working (remotely, on-site, or any other way) these two days are when we “do stuff”. Stuff usually outside the home – stuff together – the stuff of getting-together and being together.
This week has been frantic! A week of work trying to find assistance for the temp-team we pay week after week after week. Who were told there is no more work as London offices shut their doors (literally). A bunch of wonderful (and skilled) human beings whose contracts are for “services provided” rather than for “employment”. And so are left without any financial aid.
As they have watched those who ARE employed OR self-employed being helped.
These are real people we “employ” in all but contract. Whose tax we sort out, whose sickness we sort out, whose work problems we sort out, whose names we know, and whose lives we are part of. People who look to us to “fix this” for them as we fix things every week. People we know as colleagues, friends, and superstars. People we have seen grow in their “temp career”. And yet all we could do was work feverishly behind the scenes trying to bring their plight to the notice of those who can offer aid.
We were not alone in that.
Temp workers (with contracts “for services provided”) number many thousands. Yet “our temps” are not numbers. Every “temp” is a person who knows us as we know them. What a privilege that is! What a compliment to be more than a source of income. What an honour to be part of their lives in a personal relationship. And – in times like this – what a responsibility to provide more than “our doors are now closed”.
>>> On Thursday we called every client to find out how they were coping. I came away humbled.
Every organisation has done we have done: dispersed its staff to their own homes with the equipment and connectivity to carry-on. Almost every organisation is “business as usual” – just without any confidence things will stay this way. Expecting and receiving the trust that – even though now “out of sight” – each person continues to bring the same commitment – that people were expected to do the right thing and are.
None of that has made the news. Just as no organisation has bitched at the cost of money, time and energy to make THIS happen. And THAT is unprecedented – that is GOOD NEWS – that should be recognised because that is ALSO each of us helping each other.
These five days have seemed a month. But yesterday we were told our temps would be supported the same as the employed and self-employed. So the next five will be as frantic making that happen for these real people.
THIS is not about making a profit (although it soon will be). This is about helping each other survive and perhaps even thrive (in “non-balance-sheet” ways).
This week I have walked our dog to the applause of strangers on their doorsteps acknowledging the human beings of our National Health Service. I have witnessed queues an hour-long of “socially distanced” human beings waiting patiently for their turn (and beginning to find shops fully stocked again). I have seen billions (of every currency) committed to supporting almost every sector of society. I have walked under skies free of the usual vapour trails down streets quietened of their usual traffic through parks where we each say hello (as we keep our distance).
And I read of death coming ever closer to our front door.
I wonder if this is a time for faith rather than a time for love.
Because I see love in every sector of society … “#clapforcarers” spread from Europe just as this pandemic spreads … recognition that THIS is about all of us is spreading FASTER than any pandemic … Love is being displayed in so many ways! So if I have faith and you different or none …
Does THAT really matter?
I look out and see so much kindness being ALLOWED!
By street and community … by country and continent … by this culture and that …
Kindness is being allowed … LOVE is being allowed!
And, whilst I have nothing against “faith” (and live-streamed services and fellowship), isn’t THIS bigger than THAT? Isn’t THIS when “the greatest of these” CAN be unleashed AS the greatest of these (just without the usual small-print)?
Some see the end-times. Some see gathering in church to be immune. Some believe immunity because of faith.
I see Love.
I see Jesus seeing Love as I see Love everywhere right now. I see the bible as inviting each of us to pick up Love in preference for our comfort-blanket of faith. I see this not as the end-times but as a time where Love is Allowed.
Death will always be us. And I am taking all the precautions I can to be of Life.
Life that sees video calls allowing a new silence. Where filling the silence is irrelevant. Where hide-and-seek with a wee one can be played by pointing the lens at a wall before “suddenly” appearing with a “BOOH!” Where “being” is becoming fashionable again. Where “virtual-being” is becoming the same as “face-to-face being” … gentle and unhurried.
I am learning how to be the me I want to be even in these new and changing times.
And that is a precious gift!