When I signed off at Bread and Honey in June, I was convinced we had closed the chapter on Covid. Like a wild horse finally released from captivity back into wild I was ready to run free. Traveling, eating in restaurants, meeting new friends, I tossed my mask in la poubelle. I fell back in love with life! I shook the malaise of anxiousness and experienced an extraordinary lightness of being and pure joy. I was back! The dream ended sadly when my best friend, father and sister (all double vaccinated) fell ill with the variant, mask requirements were reinstated, and like déjà vu, we were back where we started, maybe worse.
We are all feeling the weight of the present reality. It’s as if we ran a marathon, made it to the finish line, only for someone to bellow over the loudspeaker, “You’re not done! Keep running!” The truth is we are bone and spirit weary, our patience in tatters, our heads spinning as to who and what we can trust, grieving new losses, and feeling round-the-clock anxiety. Have you heard of “pandemic flux syndrome?” Symptoms include mercurial emotions, spikes in anxiety, deepening depression, and an irresistible urge to make dramatic changes in your life.
What about the earthquake in Haiti? The forest fires in the West? The hurricanes and floods leaving many without homes and electricity up the Eastern Seaboard; the women and children in Afghanistan whose liberty and right to dream flew up in flames. My dear friend Tallu who is fighting terminal cancer, my sister-in-law who lost her stepfather, and another friend whose mother-in-law is in serious decline with dementia. On top of all of that, we also must navigate careers, parenting, and significant relationships. Being human is not for the faint of heart.
As much as I would like to wallow, something in me—God in me—keeps telling me to double-down on hope. Everybody double-down on hope! All I know to do is to return, with fierce intentionality, to the things that have saved me in crises in the past: love, prayer, nature, food, fellowship, laughter, art, writing, care of others, and a stubborn commitment not to give up, but to press for signs of hope. I refuse to wait any longer to live a life that is worthy and feels good in body and soul.
No longer will I live in a “no man’s land,” waiting for a finish line. If not Covid then something else will try to stop me in my tracks. Over the coming weeks, I am going to share tangible ways to balance the fear and uncertainty with comforting peace; temper the setbacks and disappointments with some wins; manifest more joy in ourselves and for those we love. Easy it is to be a hopeful in full sun; more challenging in cloud cover and deluges. I’m glad to be back with you and together let’s see what happens when we lean in a little closer to God, we gather people around our tables and fill more than bellies, find renewal in nature, allow ourselves to dream, and work the muscles of resilience. Cheers to a new season of Bread and Honey. Let’s begin with a prayer!
Holy and Loving God,
You are calling us to look for glimmers of hope everywhere
no matter how dark and uncertain our present reality.
More than ever, we feel the poignancy of being human
And— our need of Your saving grace.
Please help us make our way now.
The puzzling challenge of being on this human coil
is figuring out how to hold sorrow and joy in us at once.
Bring Your holy balance to the soul-clutch of fear and obstinate hope that lives in the tender of us.
You promise that even if we cannot see it, your beautiful, mysterious Love
is always holding us together,
the ground beneath us is solid,
You can be trusted,
All will come together for good.
Today, help us to recommit to the rhythm of faith,
one step at a time.
Make Your calming presence known to us in nature, in chapel candlelight, in the faces of loved ones and strangers.
Most especially in our secret doubts and despairing tears.
All will come together for good— keep whispering the Truth to us
Love will ever prevail.
A most grateful Amen