To say the past almost two years have been trying is an understatement. We were living life, and then...
It all stopped. During the pandemic, so much slowed down, even stopped. The mundane events of life, like going to the grocery store, suddenly became filled with anxiety and worry for many of us. Daily routines that included meeting friends for coffee, going to the movies or concerts, and even going anywhere disappeared.
But life sped up, too. The numbers of our neighbors who became sick and died moved quickly from a few dozen to thousands and now to hundreds of thousands. We quickly shifted to online work, learning, and life. The emotional toll of this sudden and slow shift is being realized, and I suspect we are going to experience a grief crisis in this country. And no, I'm not really sure what that looks like.
This had not been my experience with writing. In the past, I have written that awful first draft reasonably quickly, then revisited it and edited and edited some more. No such steady flow of words this time. Covid, life, or maybe just having written for so many decades meant a change that felt uncomfortable and unsteady as I wrote.
Which, quite honestly, is where I as a minister and as a human feel most days in this not-quite post-pandemic world - uncomfortable and unsteady. But I still get up and pray. I still write, waiting for the stubborn words to surface so they can be engraved on the page. I still serve my congregation, and I still, always, ride horses. In all these things, I find moments of peace and certainty. They are not consistent, but they are there.
Perhaps that is how we endure, how we hope - to remember the things that steady us when the world is crumbling, to take the moments when they come and treasure them, and to know that storms do pass.
Weeping does spend the night, and joy does come in the morning.
Love reminds us that we do have experience and imaginations and skills as we navigate the next few months and years in the midst of all that continues to change. I've learned, as I wrote the words, slowly and annoyingly piecemeal, that hope is not only the thing with wings, the hope is the thing with hooves that grounds me, reminds me to be present, and tells me to trust God is with me, with us, in this change.
Hope continues to tell the story, word by word.
God, Grace, and Horses will be released in January 2022 from Paraclete Press.