Last Sunday, Michael and I were having breakfast and he asked what my plans were for the day.
“Well, I have reading to do for my enneagram class, my journal group, and my book discussion. Then I have some writing to do and will likely read my weekly newsletter focused on anti-racism. Oh, and I need to read the NY Times because I am behind on the news.”
And then I played mahjong for an hour and took a nap.
Seriously, my brain just shut down and no amount of Starbucks cold brew was going to revive it.
For those who know me well, you know I love to learn and always have a few books going, different podcasts in my feed and keep up with current affairs. These practices are not new and typically feed me well. But in these last weeks, the weight of the upcoming election and the magnitude of the outcome has slowly, and ever so subtly, ground my usual pace down to a crawl. And so, my brain turned itself off, like R2-D2 when his systems blow. Poof! I was down for the count.
When I woke up, I greeted Michael with a half-smile and a hug. I passed out, I told him, and slept deeply and so still that my left shoulder was stiff. “I wish it was possible to unhinge my head, dump out the overflow of toxic, stressful content, and start again,” I said. “But a solid nap is about as close as I’m ever going to get.” He agreed.
If you are at all like me, you think a lot (too much, perhaps) and can’t shut it down. Maybe you worry about the world, your neighborhood, the nation, your black friends, or your queer family member. Or it could be that you are not working outside of the home because you are schooling your children now (surprise!) and lay awake at night wondering if you are getting it right, or at least right enough. Maybe you are wondering where Jesus is in all of this mess because you don’t really feel him next to you and frankly could use the help right about now.
I see you, my friends and I am with you. These times are so uncertain (which I’m so tired of hearing, and now am annoyed to have written) and our minds are on high alert as we try and put one foot in front of the other. We don’t want to drown in sadness or anger, but it’s impossible to be all kinds of happy because we are not blissfully ignorant of man’s inhumanity to man. And if one more person says they can’t wait until election day because “this will all be over” we may just take off our shoe and whack them over the head. We know that election day is the beginning of the next phase of uncertainty, not a return to “normal.” (and who wants normal anyway? Frankly, it could use some fine-tuning.)
So where is the light? Where is the hope?
It is where it has always been. With God.
Friends, I am white-knuckling hope right now. My grip is tight and sweaty and dirty but it’s holding. It’s holding because I believe in God. I believe in the power of love and the light overcoming the darkness. I believe in the goodness of humanity, even when it shows an ugly, sinful underbelly. Because as Nadia Bolz-Weber reminds us, we are 100% sinner and 100% saint which means we are really going to screw things up.
But there is hope.
Not blind hope. Not a wistful hope. Not a surface level “this too shall pass” hope. But a hope grounded in hard work, in pushing forward, in taking each painful step as we walk in love.
Our hope is grounded in Jesus’ promises. In his traveling the road to Emmaus with us.
Do you see him too?
He is with us, the fools wandering along our Emmaus road. He is in the stranger passing us on the sidewalk, with a mask on. He is in the volunteer at the polls and the pro bono immigration attorney working to reunite families. He is in the black man who is fighting for justice and the lesbian woman seeking help because she doesn’t really want to take her life, she just wants to be accepted.
Jesus is grounding us in hope, fortifying us for the journey and calling the audible; forcing a deep, uninterrupted nap when needed.
So no matter where you are right now friends, hold hope tightly in one hand, and a cold brew in the other.
I’ll see you on the road.
How are you holding up, these days? Can this community pray for you to have hope?
Let me know in the comments.