This year is ending and none too soon. It has been a very different year as we have all been weaving our way through the Covid Pandemic. Schools are closed-Schools are open-Nope, closed. Masks are mandatory. People protests wearing masks others ask to do it for the sake of everyone. It is difficult to visit with family in person. Social distancing is the norm. Who is in my Bubble? Zoom has quickly become the normal way of staying in touch with friends and family. The oddest one for me is trying to grasp that our loved ones cannot accompany us into the hospital, no matter what the reason.
And now-the vaccines have arrived and there is hope.
There is always hope. When my world has been at it’s bleakest, I can still see hope and a brighter day on the horizon. Hope does not have to be a large shining light, although it is nice when it happens. Hope may sometimes be just a smile or a card or a message saying hang in there, and I care about you as a valued human being on this planet. Right after Jim died hope arrived with my sister who came to spend time with me. When she left my friend Helen arrived. Having friends that care and make their presence known is often my beacon of hope.
More people are alone on this holiday which is often about family and friends. This year though families find it hard to get together. This year friends find it difficult to gather. I could point out all the disappointments yet I would rather look towards what has been positive for me this year. I prefer to find my way towards hope.
I know that people with extroverted tendencies have found it hard to be alone. Some have chosen to take a chance on socializing over quarantine. I understand that. Although many of you who know me may think I am an extrovert, you could be surprised to know that I am not. I love to be with people and then I need my alone time. I spent most of this summer and fall alone in Idaho. I found I was getting stronger in the core of my being. As I was driving south in the fall I discovered comfort in who I am. There is an inner core of strength and self-confidence that has surfaced. Spending time alone has given me the gift of insight and growth.
I have spent a lot of time outdoors. Exploring nature is a healthy choice. Research has shown that a walk in the woods or along the shore can be healing and mood-lifting. I would agree with this. I am thankful for the most amazing places I have been to. I am thankful for the time I have taken to know the mountains, the coast, the canyons, and the deserts. Each time I am out in nature I feel a tug in my soul to be open to what is around me.
Nature is amazing. This summer I wandered the dry lake bed in Idaho. I would sit on rocks and logs and wait. One late afternoon I looked up just in time to have three Sandhill Cranes fly low over my head. Now that is amazing. Nature gives me hope.
Through all the craziness of this past year, I have discovered kindness in people. Neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers helping strangers. It might be nothing big. I have noticed that people are performing small acts of kindness. Someone buys another person’s coffee. Early in the pandemic, I put out a request on Nextdoor (the app & website) regarding where to buy toilet paper. Within a short time, I received enough toilet paper to maintain this household for quite some time. People added other items to their gift of toilet paper. When one person does this often there is a chain effect of kindness and generosity. Small acts of kindness give me hope.
A new US administration arrives in January. Whether one likes this or not, change is good. Change offers hope. Hope for growth as a nation. Hope for growth as a state. Hope for growth as an individual. What a way to welcome the New Year. There is such a possibility in the unknown. Will this administration succeed? Will some of the anger subside? Oh, I hope so. At the moment, all of this is untapped potential for growth and change. It is exciting and scary all at the same time. There is hope.
Yesterday, for this non-church going individual, I attended two virtual church services. One in Ohio and one in San Diego. What was the topic of each of the sermons? Hope. I guess I am on the right track. One sermon spoke of hope as that little tiny beacon of a light way out there on the horizon. It may be tiny but it is there.
For the end of this year and the coming year as well I wish that this spot on the horizon becomes larger and larger as we reach for the unknown New Year.