Have you had a little taste of Fall yet? Maybe you already grabbed a pumpkin spice latte from your favorite coffee shop last week. Perhaps you experienced what I did this morning as a gentle breeze blew around much cooler temperatures as I walked JJ. Here in our part of the world, it feels like change is in the air. The feeling is hopeful and anticipatory: what will Fall bring?
But then I read that victims of Hurricane Ida will be without power for weeks as higher-than-normal temperatures arrive for the people of Louisiana. And I know that the people in the West can’t hope for winds to blow in cooler temps because they have to pray for no wind and lots of rain to squelch the fires. And the pandemic is roaring its ugly head again.
How do we balance what we are able to experience here while maintaining some awareness of the hardship of others? I suppose my answer is not revolutionary but maybe bears reminding: empathy, hope, and prayer.
First, empathy. When we are at our best as human beings, we are able to sit with others in their pain and suffering. We all cycle through times of being able to be empathetic and needing others’ empathy. Participate in the suffering of others as you can knowing that you will experience it in return when the need arises.
Second, hope. God never leaves us stranded. The dark times are broken up by lighter ones. The poet Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”[i] We cannot escape pain in this earthly world, but the Light will always find you. Our times of hurt and worry will always have moments of hope to propel us into the future upheld by God. Look for these signs of hope.
Lastly, prayer. Turn to the Psalms if you forget how to pray. Or, just remember that anything can be a prayer if you direct it toward God. If you have nothing else to say but, “why, God?” then say that. God will fill in the blanks that your heart can’t find the words for in that moment.
As the seasons change, let every color change in the leaves, every degree of temperature drop, every flip of the calendar day, remind you that God has got us all in His loving hands. Now and evermore. Amen.
Peace and Blessings,