“What you deserve is not pain but peace—peace in whatever form it takes. If your peace is small and broken, carry it close to you, whisper to it now and then, nurture it until it grows and can take a turn carrying you. Keep moving.”
— Maggie Smith
2020 has been a year of many losses, great and small. Yes, there have been some silver linings and a-ha revelations, but for the most part I think we have shifted into “idle” gear. This past summer, I was charged with driving the Jon Boat so my husband David could stand on the bow and cast his line into the marsh for red fish. David’s instruction: Idle. Idling is this unsettling stasis where you neither go backward or forward. Where is the fun in being stopped in place, especially when you can still hear the hum of your motor? Secretly, I have been holding out for the flip of a cosmic light switch where suddenly everything would go back to normal or be transfigured into something better. The reality is deep and consequential living doesn’t happen on idle. I, we, have to figure out how to shift gears and live as soulfully as we can in the uncertainty.
Recently, I listened to a talk by Miroslav Volf, a professor at Yale Divinity School and the Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. He said the pandemic has sent us all into this “no future” mode. Imagine yourself a boat stuck in idle gear. Because we cannot see and enjoy family and friends, make plans for the future, leave our house without some degree of anxiety, our capacity to hope has come into question. Volf said we must recover our hope! I believe we need each other to do that.
For me, the first step is locating a modicum of interior peace. Frenetic energy is my downfall. Without an indwelling of peace, we are going to be hard-pressed to accomplish patience, endurance, and the grace necessary to keep moving forward. I have studied extensively the early church and their dependence on ritual and repetition to ground the frantic spirit. I confess I’ve tried a multitude of ways to find peace from running like Forrest Gump, dosing chocolate, binging Netflix and virtual shopping. All my efforts have proved ineffectual and fleeting. Let’s face it this is an unnerving time. All of us are walking on eggshells wondering if tomorrow will bring the virus, financial insecurity, relationship fallout, outright civil war into our homes and country.
It would be insensitive and honestly not very helpful to just say, “pray.” Because truthfully, my own prayer life has been a struggle. There is no way around this season of uncertainty but to dig in—Together! In this spirit, I have created a gift for you. I have named it “Big Hope.” Leaning on my Catholic brethren, I have written a prayer booklet accompanied by the Hope Rope-a hand-made prayer rope of olive wood beads from Italy. There are seven prayers that accompany the seven largest beads. I carry my Hope Rope with me everywhere (great for school hook-up lines), and I have found that it does calm me. Sometimes I read the prayers from the card, other times I assign a bead for a specific person, circumstance, or deep hope.
How do I get this gift to you? I decided since community as we know it with friends, family and church has been significantly altered, the community at Bread and Honey is even more important now for our vitality. I am convinced hope begets more hope. Why not invite more people to join us? I have never done anything like this before so I am crossing my fingers that my vision to “share the love” works. Give Hope. Get Hope.
To receive the gift sign up below, and gift a friend! I have angels like Susan Batson who have been working like crazy to make hundreds of prayer ropes! Nothing compares to hope to stir the imagination for all the marvelous possibilities ahead for us. No more idling or “no future” malaise, it’s time to reclaim our joy!