When the sun’s out, we can be content with the things we recognise; the patterns, habits, and narratives or stories that give meaning to stuff. These everyday assurances or comforts will differ from person to person.
Occasionally the sun is not out – sometimes assurances break down. Our assumptions, the things we rely on being there, may simply fail to stand up as we knew them previously, (or we might begin a process of deconstructing failing myths). This has happened for many people recently. The everyday things that our days revolved around have been shaken. Usual routines canceled, expectations for the future canceled, opportunities canceled, assurance that all will be well… postponed.
When all hope seems lost, where do we look to for hope? Thankfully, some stories can be held on to. Family, friendship, community, food, nature, music, etc. But for some, even these essential things are distant, fragile, and difficult to find.
In the extreme story of Noah and his friends, where would they have found hope that all was not futile? They must have felt vulnerable. All they had were stories from their past, each other, a big boat, a lot of heartless water, limited supplies, nowhere to anchor, and the prospect of imagining some vision of what the future might bring.
There are lots of real-life stories of people who have held on to hopes in unimaginable circumstances. Terry Waite. Anne Frank. Nelson Mandela. Alice Herz-Sommer. There is also the lady at work… The man down the street… People who have been through tough circumstances that we may never experience.
If we have little we can rely on from our past, and the future is canceled, what we do have is ‘our present’.
I come from a country deeply influenced by Christian culture. It’s currently a time of year that some people celebrate Easter.
‘On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked in fear, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”.’ John 20 v 19
Everything they had hoped for had been canceled. But their hope ‘came and stood among them’.
In the story of Noah and his friends, the dove ‘returned to him in the evening…’, their hopes were renewed.
The dove returned to be with Noah, a spirit returned and was with the frightened disciples, our hopes might be found with us, if we are able to clear the confusing view of broken comforts and faulty promises, and if we are able to accept signs of life.
My young daughter said that hope is ‘strength’.
A friend suggested that hope “…invites us to be fully present in each moment”
In my mindful meditations, I try to find hope in the breath of life. Let’s face it, our breath (momentary life) is an essential thing to be celebrated, moment to moment.
Perhaps if we can see life… breathe, and breathe again… then, hopefully, we can build on that assurance and give a little smile?
I was lucky to be “with” a musician last night when he energetically revived the somewhat resigned tones of Phil Ochs; “My days won’t be dances of delight when I’m gone… guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here…”. You’ll have to take my word for it but ‘you had to be there’.
I ‘hope’ we’ll be able to recognise “the golden of the sun…” when it shines.