Last Wednesday, I looked out across the backyard, past the wet fence, seeing only the milky morning sky and thinking: Another sunless day in the pandemic. I’m not sure why I looked again, but that time I saw colour—deep meadow yellow batons waving in wind as if to say: Hello, yoo-hoo. Over here.
It was the forsythia bush, doing a happy dance. How did I miss all that yellow the morning before when it rained all day? Well, blame it on the rain, on the lock down, on the delayed vaccine shipments, on rising ICU numbers, on the lack of sleep…
Truth is though, hope is even more elusive these days, especially after listening to the news each night. So we’re all having trouble holding on to hope and seeing colour in the monotony of grey Covid days. The poet, Emily Dickinson, says:
Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all …
Christians say, “Put your hope in God’s unfailing love.”
Both quotes remind us that hope does not spring naturally from the shifting circumstances around us or from looking out at our own human horizons. Seeing hope, finding hope takes intentionality, takes faith, takes looking upward and outward.
Where are you finding hope these days? In what? In whom?
I’m looking to the bedrock of Biblical promises and practices like prayer and meditation. I’m holding on to friendships and family that endure. I’m searching for hope signs shown in nature, in greening gardens, in the burgeoning blossoms of maples when I go for a walk.
And yes, now I look at the forsythia bush each morning and I see the explosion of yellow stars, suspended like confetti sprinkled on branches. Those same branches only two weeks ago were brown, brittle sticks. Which goes to show-- hope can sneak up on you. Watch for it. Wait for it.