Signs of Hope

If there has ever been a year when we need a good spring, it is this one.

It has been such a difficult year. The pandemic has wrecked havoc on the entire world. The virus has resulted in staggering losses, but I think it has also highlighted the pain and suffering that has always existed in our world. No one has been immune to the impact of the pandemic — in some shape or form. I have sometimes felt adrift in an ocean of despair (my own, that of family members, friends, and our community) without a clear sense of how to get back to shore, or help others see a path to respite. This year, our family has directly experienced the death of friends and loved ones. As tough as it has been, I also think our collective losses give us an opportunity to develop a sense of community and empathy for the daily trials of our neighbors.

Today, on the first official day of spring break, my daughter and I took a quick trip out to Four Peaks Wilderness — East of Phoenix. It was great to be outdoors. It was a joy to be together. To breathe fresh air and see the desert beginning to show signs of renewal — not just from the winter months, but from a recent wildfire (see Renewal and Healing).

We walked up a wash — still damp from recent rains and snow melt. Carefully picking our way through granite boulders, past mesquite trees and giant saguaros.

Alina kept a close eye on the sand stretched before us, searching for quartz — picking up pieces that caught her eye and squirreling them away in the pocket of her hoodie. By the time we returned to the truck she was probably carrying several pounds.

I searched out the bright green and flashes of color flaunted by the wildflowers that are beginning to overcome the aftermath of the fire, the cold nights and the dry winter. Brilliant reminders that beauty appears in unexpected places and that hope rises out of the ashes.

I’m not sure where you are right now, but I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us are struggling, tired, and ready to put the pandemic behind us. My hope is that in spite of our own losses, we will recognize that we all have the ability to lift others up, to encourage, to sit with, and to walk alongside those who need our support. Those opportunities existed before the pandemic. They are present now. And they will be needed in the future.

Hang on.

Remain hopeful.

Spring is coming and it is going to be a good one.

You might also enjoy reading The Storms Are Getting Tired.

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