This past week has definitely been painful and upending; a week of learning and adaptation in our lives. Our humanity has been tested, angered, loosened and tightened. We have felt our world of certainties, our ease, freedoms and entitlement slowly disintegrate and give in to the “nothingness” that is left when the pandemic of fear eats into the very certainty of our lives. And if there is one thing that can spread faster than a pandemic, it is fear. With increasing interconnectedness of world panic specifically due to the COVID-19, it is easy to get caught up in the contagion of fear that surrounds us. But hope is equally contagious though perhaps harder to communicate.
We can choose to be huddled in a boat of fear with all the turmoil we see today and in so doing we can bring down others on this downtrodden road, or we can rise above our fear and anxiety and focus our feelings on hope and faith in our humanity. Fear and hope are opposite motivators. Hope creates space in our minds and hearts because it asks to believe in something that could be, while fear, more often than not, restricts it. But they both have the capacity to promote growth in us. If we don’t give in to panic, fear shows us what we are afraid of losing which, in today’s turmoil, is life of loved ones, perhaps our own life, or control of a lifestyle. Once we recognize what we are most afraid of losing, (our health, our lives, loved ones), we can go about nurturing it and keeping it strong and safe with Hope. Hope asks us to have faith; to believe in ourselves, in our own senses, our creativity, and our ability to overcome adversity. In order to believe it, we must have faith in the possibility that we can make things better than what is. And in this equation, Hope should be the greater force.My hope is that in these times of turmoil, we see opportunity; we see signs of unity, of goodness and faith. If we could just look at how we come together across the globe with a sense of collective purpose, as humans showing compassion with hearts and minds of collective souls of goodwill — (in Italy, people singing across balconies and open windows; in Greece, playing the bouzoukis to share in each other’s pain; in the UK buying soap and hand sanitizers for distribution among those who don’t have the means; in Ohio, children playing cello on front porches of elderly neighbors)—our lives will not be severed but joined anew, and our joy will not be halved but doubled.
My hope is that we show our families, our neighbors, the strangers among us that it is worth working together with compassion and empathy to become stronger and safer together in a world where we put aside greed and live not for ourselves but for each other.
My hope is that with forced social distancing, and a disruption in our lifestyles we reinvent our priorities — to connect with the most basic of what sustains our souls—our loved ones, (spouses, children, sisters, brothers) distant families, the elderly, friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Engage in conversations in the intimacy of our own homes and use phone and virtual social media to stay in touch with those for whom we did not make time in our busy schedules.
My hope is that as we spend the days in our confined spaces we find creative ways to share our skills whether we are playing board games, cooking pasta, or divvying up an instant cup of noodle.
My hope is that we recognize the gratitude that pours out of our hearts as we return to focus on the blessings of family, shelter, a slice of bread, a sip of water, a ray of sunshine. We can make much out of little when we embrace the perfection of what we have in the moment.
And if we look deep inside,
Hidden in that place where we once recited
The Lord’s Prayer with faith as children,
We will see light.
There is light there. Look for it.
Look for it shining over your shoulder on the past. It was light where you went once.
Look for it in your heart. It is light where you are now.
Look for it in the horizon. It will be light where you go again.
Have faith. Spread hope.