This is a strange new Easter. But there’s something timeless to hold on to.
Unemployment can come as a shock.
Like, it can be brutal.
There’s the financial reality, and that’s what hits you first. Holy sh!t. How am I going to pay for everything?
Most people aren’t set up to be able to take a massive pay cut, especially one that has come on as suddenly as this crisis has.
And for a lot of people this is going to be a wildly new experience. Some people have become accustomed to precarious employment. They’re used to rolling cycles of casual and contract work, punctuated with random periods of unemployment.
But for a lot of people, this is going to be the first time they’ve been unemployed, ever.
It’s been over 25 years now since Australia had any real unemployment – when there are ten workers for every opening, and people just start giving up on ever finding work.
Not many of us hold the cultural memory of what it’s like in times of high unemployment.
And so I wonder if we’re ready.
Because after the financial shock, comes the self-worth shock.
Chilling on the couch stops being fun after a couple of weeks (probably less if you’re self-isolating with kids!) And you have a little too much time for introspection, and asking questions like, “What’s wrong with me? Why is everyone rejecting me? What skills do I actually have anyway? Who would ever want to employ me? Will I ever work again?”
This can become a hole that it can take a long while to find your way out of.
I’m not sure that we, as individuals but also as a society, are ready for this.
So here comes Uncle Jon’s Easter Message.
This all got me thinking about forgiveness.
Self-judgement is the cancer that eats at your self-worth. No one is judging you for losing your job because of a global pandemic. But that doesn’t matter. Because it is what you are saying about yourself – quietly at first, but eventually with vicious rage and loathing.
Our own minds can be a terrible enemy – a brutal tyrant.
And once the judgement virus spreads through the brain, we become imprisoned in ideas of right and wrong and painful self-consciousness.
So, what’s the antidote?
It is knowing that the cleansing fire of forgiveness is available to us, in every moment of every day, if we simply let it in.
It is knowing that the prison walls of right and wrong and judgement can not hold us. There is a wide world beyond them, that we can simply step into, any time we choose.
It’s your mind. You have control.
And when I look at the life of Jesus Christ, it is this message that really stands out for me. He was willing to let himself be nailed to a cross just to remind us that forgiveness is only ever an intention, a prayer away.
To make sure that we never forgot it.
So Easter is probably a good time to remember this. And if you’re one of the good folks who have suddenly found themselves unemployed, remember this. Anchor the intention now, before the demons of self-doubt and judgement start wearing you down, and make it impossible.
May God and his good son keep them from you.
Happy strange old Easter everyone.