faith, Pandemic Wisdom

Drops of Hope

Have you noticed it takes very little to throw the wheels off of everything these days? I’m sure it is because we are all living in this strange pandemic place where everything changed so fast. I’m convinced we have not yet grieved and don’t even fully recognize all the changes and losses we experienced with no notice. We can’t know yet all the changes that will be either.

I’m probably much like you, I’m fairly resilient but begrudgingly so. I do not like change, but I will do it if I have to. Once we started sheltering at home and I realized it would be this way for a while, I started making our spaces multipurpose. For example, my yoga room is also the tv room, puzzle room, kitchen/den area. Try doing a Downward Facing Dog pose with people coming in and out for coffee. Every single time my son comes in while I’m doing yoga he says “Namaste.” I can’t even. We call the patio my office. It is of course also our alternate dining space and our place to try for privacy while on the phone.

Anyway the point is, I could not control anything, so I tried harder to control our home environment. I may have stockpiled some meat. Perhaps I’ve cleaned a bit more. I open the windows every chance I get to let the germ free air flow.

So Friday night, when a storm blew in and lightening hit a transformer near us and the power went off, I realized how close to the edge I was. It felt like losing control of the last thing I had, our home. Suddenly our full fridge and freezer were in peril. No ceiling fans were giving me air. The coffeemaker no longer worked. I couldn’t see to read, write or work a puzzle. I began to believe this was what our future was going to be like, no one with power, another layer of dystopian consequences.

The power stayed off most of the weekend. Our phones died. We could not find anything. We had to abandon our weekly routine, which I realize now, grounds me. We usually clean house Saturday mornings. It was so dark and rainy we could not see to clean even in the daytime. I could do no laundry. I could not use my computer. I couldn’t walk my dog. I tried but the pouring rain and thunder invited us quickly back inside. Dirty dishes piled up in the sink. This went on until the wee hours of Sunday morning. I did, for a while, lose hope and cry real tears because it felt like the last insult and I was certain this was the way it would be going forward.

Every day, I do a creative writing exercise, usually on my computer, but during this, I resorted to pen and paper and the light of my dying cell phone. The writing prompt for that day: It is raining at your house, but water is not falling, what is? In the dark place I was in then, I wrote at first: it is the ashes of our former life descending on us like black sticky soot. I could see that was not going in a good direction so I scratched it out, took a deep breath and tried again. (By the way, this is called reframing and it is a helpful technique for a better mindset.)

On my second try I wrote: there are drops of hope falling on this home today. I wrote about the wonder of one flame of a candle lighting my darkest room with the electricity out. I wrote about our candlelight card games on Friday and Saturday nights. I wrote about the neighbor who offered to share electricity for our refrigerator through three extension cords stretched across the wet street. I wrote about the gift of a not scorching Texas weekend in May. Drop, drop, drop.

I wrote about the good friends who offered us a place to retreat to in spite of Covid fears. I remembered we have a perfectly fine home sheltering us. I remembered our family was safe, employed and healthy so far. I remembered God has promised never to leave me. Drop, drop, drop.

When the power was restored early Sunday morning, my 21 year old son and I were both awake and giddy with happiness. He helped me plug things back in, to turn off what was still running or brightly lit from Friday night. We started a load of laundry and the dishwasher. We talked about how good coffee would taste in the morning. Drop, drop, drop. We talked about the deliciousness of ceiling fans and air conditioning. We plugged in our phones and I-pads, amazed at the gift of charging our devices which keep us connected to the world and those we love. We reminded ourselves we could watch Netflix again tomorrow. We talked about how good we would sleep now with air moving.

It was raining hope all over us.

On Monday one of my friends who lives in another state was talking during a Zoom meeting about her weekend. She has infant twin grandsons, Max and Milo, who she has not been able to see, except through a glass door, in months. She said something different happened this weekend. Everyone decided if she properly sanitized and wore a mask, she could, with one finger, touch one of each tiny boys’ toes. She played a little peek-a-boo with them through her mask. Her face was radiant as she declared it, “the best weekend ever.” A drop of hope is plenty right now. Actually it is everything.

What’s raining on you today?

When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places…life grows. Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

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Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. Go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com to see other blog entries, upcoming speaking dates, sermons and more information on the weekly nationwide Jesus Calling Prayer Call that Dr. Ryan co-hosts each Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. CST. Sign up there for the Inner Circle monthly email with Cindy’s Top Ten List included. The June 1 issue has some exciting breaking news included.

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