Hope, Love, Faith
Last weekend I spent a lot of time coloring and processing what was happening within. This weekend I have spent a great deal of time in reading and prayer. And both weekends I have sought out time with friends or family – through FaceTime, Zoom, or other mediums in order to feel connected. One thing I believe we are all learning is that much as we are all individually having to handle this crisis given the need for social distancing; we are also in this together – with the entire world. I keep replaying in my mind a song from the 60’s … “what the world needs now, is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…what the world needs now, is love sweet love, no not just for some, but for everyone.” (You can listen to it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUaxVQPohlU).
And so, we look for love and connections through our faith communities, our friends, our families, and even our pets. Pope Francis really touched me this weekend when he spoke and said simply, yet powerfully, “We are all on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other … [we] have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.” This made me begin to think about how I share my hope and love. And I do have hope for our futures. It will not be the same future we imagined 30 days ago perhaps; but it can be one that is even more connected with each other, working toward common goals. I’ve seen small examples of games in the neighborhood like putting a teddy bear in the window for children to find on a walk with their parents during a break in studying at home. Or neighborhood children (and adults) who have left messages in colored chalk for others walking by. I loved running across one while walking Finley the other night – just a reminder of not being a solo in the neighborhood, but part of a bigger whole. Or the neighbors offering to do grocery runs or other errands if someone cannot get out to do their own at this time. And yet … reminding everyone to stay in as much as possible. There is hope in the fact that we are reaching out to one another in love … through chalk, teddy bears, or 15-minute errands.
I’ve found this weekend I also want to express myself in different ways – by returning to some artwork — not to express my emotions, but to enjoy the freedom of creation, the hope in creating something that didn’t exist. I read a brief article somewhere this morning that said people are reaching out to plant more gardens (it mentioned similar to victory gardens around World Wars I and II). And we are in a war for our lives and a cure, are we not? Many are looking at creating something no matter what level of talent they may have. I would encourage you to reach out and try something this week. Perhaps a crayon drawing. Or plant some herbs or flowers if you have the materials or can get them via pick up at one of the local stores like Ace, Home Depot, Walmart, or Lowe’s. Color a mandala (Go to this link for some free ones to print https://printmandala.com/) or do some paint by number on an app like Happy Color. One favorite I had as a child and only takes a piece of paper and crayons or markers is to scribble lines and curves all over a blank piece of paper, and then color the spaces in forming a picture among the shapes. Or, color all of the shapes in, then color over it in black, and lightly scrape off the black letting colored shapes show through the black. Have children? In addition to the above projects that would also work for them, check out Highlights at https://www.highlights.com/parents/crafts/31-kids-crafts. And remember Pinterest always has 100’s of ideas.
Pope Francis speaks of our vulnerability, a favorite topic of Brene Brown as well. She had her first new podcast recently, and spoke about FFT’s, Frightening (or another F word) First Times. So many are wondering how does one get through a frightening time like a pandemic? And Brene said, honestly, none of us knows – it’s our first time, we are all vulnerable and exposed in walking through this time. Pope Francis said, “The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules”. A student of mine asked me this week if I’d ever survived a pandemic. As well as sending her a history lesson 😊 I also spoke of the fact we are vulnerable, we are all in the same boat of one day at a time, and reaching out for support from friends, faith communities, and therapists or other care providers during our time of fear and vulnerability; and to our physicians and hospitals if we do become ill. But allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another – share your fear, allow another to cry or be with their feelings, offer your hope and strength when you have it, be present fully in the moment by text, video chat, letter, email, phone call – will allow you to also move forward “choos[ing] what matters” (Pope Francis).
And so hope, and love, come through faith, connection, vulnerability, giving, and risk in trying new things. We will not find hope if we hide in a corner. As frightened as a person may be, the only answer is to come out into the light. Be vulnerable with another and connect. Risk doing so and expressing yourself honestly, perhaps for the first time; but at the least for the first time during a pandemic. Give to others through any way that comes to you to do so. And walk in your faith, whatever it may be, and take it just one step at a time, one day at a time, through these darker times. Regardless of your faith, I would encourage you to reach up for strength and hope, reach out in love, and reach in to find one thing to be grateful for each day. If we each do our best, just our best as we are able to do today, we will make it through this time together.
Take care of yourself,