Embracing a Season of Hope

Singing mockingbird

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all….” Emily Dickinson

I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot of chirping going on in my soul these days. Spring always feels hopeful, when the world explodes with new life, but this Spring follows a full year of pandemic anxiety and deep cultural angst. Man, was there ever a year with a higher collective misery index than 2020? Not in my lifetime. So, yes, we are desperate for mental, physical and spiritual relief. Here’s what’s giving me hope in March 2021.

I’m fully vaccinated!

Webster’s dictionary says hope is “to desire with confidence.” I’ve been desiring an end of this pandemic and a return to normalcy. Sure, I know it’s not over yet, but I can finally hold that desire with reasonable confidence. We play cards every Friday night with another couple, and because we’re all old, we’ve played cards fully masked all year. Now we’re all vaccinated and got to play cards MASKLESS for the first time this week! It’s the little things, folks.

I flew on an airplane!

We flew to Phoenix to see our daughter and family this month, and I’ve never enjoyed a flight more. I was so giddy, I actually listened to the safety instructions and gladly returned my tray table to its upright and locked position without even being asked. Kudos to United Airlines for extra safety precautions and friendliness bordering on exuberance. I suspect they’re happy to be flying again, too.

i hugged my grandkids!

We missed birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas with our Phoenix crew, and when I finally got to squeeze on them this month, I didn’t want to let go. They’re an inch or two taller, but just as giggly and freckled and funny as ever. Oh, how I’ve missed them!

I’m making travel plans!

Anticipation is half the fun of travel. After hanging in limbo for so long, it just feels grand to make a plan. And my airline credits are screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” We had to cancel a photography trip to Yellowstone twice last year, once in May and again in September. Tell the bears I’m coming for them this year, for sure.

The world is brand new again!

That 2-week Arctic blast in February nearly finished me off. Like a houseplant, I wilt without sunshine. We may have to wade through knee-deep mud, but Rawley and I have resumed our daily walks. We’re still a little chunky, but much less growly these days! Our walks are filled with…

Robin in tree

red-breasted robins….

long-legged shadow

long-legged shadows….

green leaf shoot

tiny green shoots…

daffodils

and cheery yellow flowers. Ah. Sweet spring.

We survived an insurrection!

We’ve still got troubles, I know, but it’s a relief to have a boring president, supported by competent professionals. Do I love everything happening in Washington? No, but it’s all relative. You know that feeling when the dentist has been drilling in your mouth for 40 solid minutes and then he’s done? Going a whole day without even hearing the former guy’s name is that feeling times a thousand. We can finally exhale. And get to work.

I’m finding my tribe in unexpected places.

The deepening cultural divide in our country has been wounding and disorienting, but I see a silver lining. At first the shedding of old labels and affiliations left me feeling isolated and alone. Not any more. I’ve found a vibrant group of like-minded searchers who encourage my faith every day, through tweets, articles, podcasts and books. They come from many faith traditions — Pentacostal, Presbyterian, Anglican, Missionary Alliance, Catholic, Southern Baptist, Episcopalian — and many ethnicities. They are preachers, writers, professors, historians, journalists, and civil servants. The common thread: faith lived out loud, with courage and grace. I’m reading and learning, stretching and growing. It feels so good.

Those are a few of the things giving me hope these days. How about you? What’s putting a bounce in your step? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Aileen’s Top Picks

  • Books:
    • Jesus & John Wayne, by Kristin Du Mez
    • Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren
    • Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
  • Podcasts:
    • The Holy Post – Phil Vischer and Skye Jethani
    • Advisory Opinions – Sarah Isgur and David French
  • Shows/Series:
    • All Creatures Great and Small – PBS

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for these words that encourage hope to rise up in my heart, like a warm breeze on a sunny day!

  2. I love spring, as well! It’s my favorite season. And I really enjoyed all you had to say about it.

    I was totally perplexed though, at the paragraph about our “boring” president. It still is a mystery to me how a Christian can be thankful for a president who is championing abortion, transgenderism, homosexuality, and who opened the borders so that thousands of illegal aliens are streaming into the US and who just spent 86 million dollars to house these illegal aliens while our homeless veterans suffer on the streets.

    I’m also a little surpised you chose to include that section in this blog as you knew it would upset most of your Christian friends. But then, it is your blog.

    1. Hi Jennie,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy keeping up with you on Facebook, especially all the funny things you post! You always give me a good chuckle.

      I appreciate your criticism, too, as odd as that may sound. You were one of only a handful of people who engaged with me after my political post, even though I know a lot of people disagreed with me. I consider it progress if we can engage in dialogue with people who hold positions different than our own. I share your concerns about policies that go against Biblical ethics. I also have concerns about a president who lied to the American people for 4 years, including the Big Lie that the election was stolen, was impeached twice for abuse of power, and led a violent insurrection in an attempt to overthrow the election. Don’t you?? I find it a relief to have him gone, even though the damage remains. If you don’t, that’s fine.

      I did consider carefully whether to include that paragraph in my blog post. I knew some people would not share that element of hopefulness, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to stir controversy, but I’ve decided to be who I am, and to present myself honestly in my blog.

      The bigger issue for me is that I no longer equate “Republican” with “Christian”. They are not the same. I vote for my Christian values, and I vote for the candidate who can best govern our country or state. Sometimes neither candidate espouses Christian values, so then it’s a pure judgment call as to which one can govern best. Sometimes that means I vote for Republican candidates, other times I may vote for a Democrat. It’s not a matter of faith.

      Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. Please give my love to your mom. I hope she is adjusting well — I know it’s tough to lose your life partner.

      Take care,
      Aileen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.