31 May 2020
New Yorker turned Parisian. Fashion stylist turned social worker. Miranda is passionate about Jesus, 3 pm coffee, and baguettes. She is determined to live in freedom and bring others on the journey. Miranda often finds herself living in the tension of seemingly opposite things, and tries to face that tension through writing and conversation.
I think we can all say that the world as we know it is changing. We find ourselves stripped of every routine and safety net that we relied on just weeks ago. And yet I’d say, most of us have access to everything we need to make it through to the other side of this global pandemic. Of course, there are job losses and financial hardships among other things. It’s definitely a time full of sacrifice. But, on the whole; we have access to food, access to technology, and the ability to social distance in order to stay safe. I wonder if, in the midst of our own grief and pain during this time of readjustment, we realize that the very things we see as a burden are privileges in and of themselves.
I, for one, am so grateful that I have more than enough technology to stay connected during this time. I have access to whatever I need through any device I want. Phone, iPad, computer…even one of those things I shout “ALEXA” at and it will respond. They allow me to keep working and earning money, they keep me connected to my church community, the countless video calls with friends and family, I can document my daily routine and keep up-to-date with the world and news around me. These are good things, right? Good, sure…and very privileged. For many of our refugee friends, this digital switch isn’t the easiest one to make. For those living on the street or in tent cities, they rely on cafes, associations, and churches to be able to charge their devices. Now all of a sudden these businesses are closed. Time spent on devices has increased tremendously in order to stay connected, and access to charge said devices has decreased to the same degree. We can provide daily facetimes and Zoom hang-outs in our best attempt to stay connected during this time, and yet fail to realize it’s not that simple for those without a home and an outlet.
Technology is just one of the privileges most of us have. The ability to social distance is another. Yeah, I know, it is NOT fun staying home. I long for the day that I can leave my tiny apartment and hug all of my people. At the same time, I am so grateful that I can keep myself safe by staying home. Again, if we think of the refugees in our cities, they are not experiencing this same privilege. For those living in tent cities and on the street, it is impossible to stay 6ft away from another person at all times. Even for those who live in centers, social distancing isn’t the easiest task. Often times they are living several people in one room. But even for those who have a private space to isolate in, it still becomes necessary to be near others in the common spaces, most often during meal times. When and if there are individuals who have tested positive in these centers, the question for others living there may become “do I risk being infected in order to eat or do I sacrifice food in order to isolate in my room?”
These are just a couple examples, and again, I’m not saying that the privileges we have are bad things. In fact, I think they’re good and will help keep us during these unprecedented times. However, I think we need to be aware of how this pandemic is affecting those around us in different ways. To say we are “all in this together”, while well-intentioned, actually diminishes the reality that the fight against this virus is not the same for those who are already isolated and marginalized in society. I wonder if during this time, we can acknowledge our privileges and reach our hand out (with gloves of course!) to ease the burden for our neighbors.