A year ago today, I was standing amongst a crowd of 60,000 people watching Ed Sheeran put on an incredible performance under the stars in the aptly named Estádio da Luz (Stadium of Light). The sound of 60,000 voices singing softly in unison, the sight of 60,000 phone lights twinkling in the darkness, rivalling the stars above, and the feeling of 60,000 hearts filled with care-free joy, is something I will never forget. Especially not now. Fast forward a year and everything has changed, for all of us.
Going to that concert was monumental for me and something I will always cherish. Decades of debilitating chronic illness had pressed the pause button on my life. I’ve spent years isolated, too ill to go out and live the life I wanted to live, missing out, unable to join in, quietly watching the world from my window. In many ways, lockdown has felt strangely familiar. Nothing much has changed in my life and yet everything is different.
The comforting thing is that I feel that, just like being one voice in a sea of 60,000, we’re all in this together. We’re certainly not all in the same boat, everyone is experiencing this in a multitude of different ways, but we are navigating our way as best we can through the same turbulent times.
What I’ve learned through my experience is that that the human spirit is far more resilient and more powerful than we ever give it credit for. And that, even though we often think we aren’t, we are amazingly good at adapting, at playing the very best hand with the cards we are dealt, at looking forward towards brighter days ahead. And soon, we will gather, with hearts full of love and gratitude and sing together again.