Released On 30th Apr 2021
Jon's blog: Meh?
There's something about the word "meh" that just tickles me. It's so comprehensively dismissive for such a short word, and the sound it makes captures the feeling behind it so eloquently. Meh. Not good, not terrible; at best so-so, at worst not even worth a proper reply.
I wonder if it captures something about how we're all feeling at the moment. Recently I read an article in The Times suggesting that many of us are "languishing" at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic. We're not miserable, and we're not elated; we might feel stuck somewhere in between, just slipping slowly and gently into "meh". It's a great word, but not a great place to live long-term. It's a bit like a black-and-white TV show, where things are happening but missing the vibrancy and delight that come with colour.
It's completely understandable. This pandemic has been going on for a long time, and on different occasions has taken away so many of the things that give our lives va-va-voom: seeing friends and family in person, working with colleagues in an office; I'm sure you could add more. Now we're starting to get some of these back, but we might still feel a little listless. Is it worth investing, or will they soon be taken away again? I really hope not. Are we a bit tired and jaded, fed up and struggling to lift our gaze? Meh.
Thinking about this, a phrase came back to me from a Lent reading at church this year: "long obedience in the same direction". The book was written well before COVID-19, but was talking about the importance, and incredible impact, of faithfulness and loyalty over the long haul. Having people we can trust, who we can really rely on – or being that person to someone else – is truly amazing. Some may find inspiration for living this way in (Christian) faith, but it's definitely not a "religious" thing.
If we step back, I suspect that many of us have been walking that long road of loyal faithfulness over the past year or so. Perhaps to our kids, keeping them fed and alive whether in or out of school; to our spouses or partners, standing by each other; to family and friends, over Zoom or in person, checking in and helping where we could; to our jobs, putting in the hours and keeping the business afloat. To all of you – well done! I mean it, it's not often glamorous and it can be tiring, but it is so important. It is literally what makes the world go round.
And I wonder if that provides a clue to try and move beyond "meh". If we can see the incredible value in so many of the simple things that we do for others, over days, weeks, months and years, we can be encouraged to keep going. More than that, we can perhaps even find delight in doing those things, and rediscover something of the joy that has been eluding us.
Jon is the father of two growing boys, and he and his amazing wife work four days a week. They are both lawyers, and Jon has worked in the City for around 15 years as a solicitor in the insurance industry. He is now becoming an expert in Greek and Roman mythology, and Super Mario.