And yet… this doesn’t mean we cannot have hope. I think we anticipate things that we have experienced previously or for which we can have reasonable expectations. (I anticipate a Fourth of July parade because I’ve witnessed one so many times before. I anticipate a hug from my spouse every evening prior to falling asleep because that has been our ritual for many years. I anticipate that I will get canker sores on a more regular basis in the coming months because mine are triggered by stress and I just can’t get rid of all of the stress in our world right now.) But hope? Hope is different. We can hope for things for which we cannot have reasonable expectations. We can hope for things well beyond our capacity for understanding. We can hope for something that doesn’t have shape or form or boundaries or even words. I can hope for this virus to change the way I experience my privilege. I can hope for people living on the margins to be seen in a different way due to this pandemic. I can hope for artists and teachers and essential workers to be honored in new and creative ways as a result of COVID-19. And I can hope that faith communities will become better versions of themselves in the midst of this pain.
I can hope for these things… and I DO hope for these things.
That is the space that I am in this Monday. I am hoping for something glorious to emerge from this pandemic, but I am not yet ready to list all the silver linings because the pain is too real and too unknown right now. I cannot ignore the hurt and loss and the absolute mystery of how things will play out. I am simply honoring where I am at today (staying present) and attempting to anticipate something new which will rise from our diligent social distancing, handwashing, and grounding in God’s love. What will it be? I don’t know. Will I like it? Maybe; maybe not. Must I go down this path? Absolutely. Our commandment is to love one another, and by sharing these honest thoughts, I hope I am doing just that… sharing the love.