Hope in the midst of despair

The pandemic did a lot of things to us. It caused isolation, depression, anxiety. But it also created space to do things differently.

In the midst of missing visiting my parents and longing to be out in the world, the despair became palpable and I had to do something to change the isolation into moments of hope. I began gardening. I didn’t realize how difficult gardening could be! The soil has to be just right, the weeds constantly pulled, and water given daily – not too much, but not too little, either. I really doubted that anything could actually come forth from that garden!

And to be fair, most everything died. The lettuce and radishes died. The onions, no matter how much love I gave them, failed. Most of the potatoes finished as puny pebble-sized potatoes in the soil I had tilled and nurtured. Trust me. There was plenty of hopelessness that anything could spring from this plot of earth!

But as summer turned to fall and the weather began to cool, I noticed something happening with the baby tomatoes. Although squirrels and birds had feasted on my large tomatoes, the little ones began to grow all over the side of our yard! They were beautiful and delicious!

How like life is this cycle? There’s life. And there’s death. There’s hope. And there’s despair.

Advent is a season of hope in the midst of despair. It’s hope that tiny seeds of faith might be nurtured into belief that there can be a better way. Things can look pretty bleak with no end in sight. But given time, nurture, and attention a seed can sprout. It’s easy to become inundated by the worries of our world. But there’s a Light in this dark season that continues to steadily glow.

As we begin this season of Light leading toward the darkest night of the year, may we find ways to share the light with others, so that together, maybe we won’t feel quite so isolated and alone.

Reflection: Share one way that either someone has brought a little light into your despair, or that you have shared a little light with another. You can post it in the comments or send it to revjodietz@gmail.com for confidentiality.

Blessing: Blessed are you when despair weighs you down. May you remember that the seed of hope lives inside of you. Nurture it. Because you are beautiful and loved, even when you can’t see your beauty and accept that love for yourself. May the Holy One bathe you in hope even in the midst of despair.

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