Certainty and familiarity

I don’t want to pontificate about the short- and long-term effects of the last few months, but I have been reflecting a little lately on two things in particular: certainty and familiarity.

The strangeness of this year has upended a number of things that we thought were certain – supermarket stock, health systems in the global north, the ubiquity of air travel and mobility, not to mention (controversially) the need for a physical office.

At the same time, the last few months has also left man of us with a deep sense of defamiliarisation. Not only are the ‘certainty’ building blocks changing, but the things that make life familiar also seem to be changing.

Our rituals – handshakes, physical meetings, crammed bars – are no longer possible.

Our spaces – offices, trains, planes – are altered. Some of these may change forever.

But as much as the unfamiliarity and the uncertainty affects our lives, there are some things that remain certain or familiar, and that I am grateful for.

Some of these are certain ‘certains’ that I had never really thought about before.

Our carers are a consistent and welcome form of certainty – often overlooked and underappreciated.

I’m grateful for the certainty of my faith community, even if its online mode of expression is deeply unfamiliar!

I have found comfort in the familiarity of baking bread. Finding flour was a bit touch-and-go there for a while(!), but the rhythm of bread-making has been a deeply familiar part of my life for a few years now.

The internet – gosh. Without the certainty of the internet, it is hard to know what we would have done. Never thought I would thank BT.

And then there are our relationships; (hopefully) a source of both familiarity and certainty in times of need.

So, in the unfamiliar and the uncertain – we can always find what is truly familiar, and hopefully some things that are certain.

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