When life is going well, I’m the kid with the ice cream cone, licking it all up, wanting more.
When life goes badly, I want to hurry along, believing, hoping, the future holds better days. Good or bad, I’m in a hurry, hungry for more, focusing on the future.
This year unhinged my usual tactics for dealing with life. Why hurry? I’m fine, right where I am. The future too uncertain to long for it’s coming. Each day holds enough joy and sorrow. In this slowed down enoughness, we face things as they are and recognize the impermanence of life, love, happiness. It is, it is not, it is.
As we wrap Christmas presents, I want to wrap us in bubble wrap protecting us against our fragility and hubris.
And yet I know life demands everything we’ve got and a bit more. Our happiness bubbles pop.
We step into a future and faith–less magical, smaller, and more real. It’s the size of the room we’re in right now. We’re going to need less faith and more practice. The practice of extending generosity to meet scarcity and sorrow, comfort to salve fear, meeting uncertainty with our witness and presence.
In this dark winter, may we light a candle of hope. In our sorrow may we open to our tenderness. May we face uncertainty with courage.
Amazing fact: flying in their v-formation geese can fly 71 percent further than they can alone.
Today, before we know the election results typifies 2020. The anxiety is palpable. We seem to be getting hit from all sides. The southern coast just suffered its 11th hurricane, the West from Colorado to California is on fire, and Covid is invading our small towns and rural areas with a vengeance. Many people are losing jobs, homes, and hope. And we wait on pins and needles for the election outcome.
And yet the geese are still flying. They are migrating. I live in a town that still has fields in the middle of town. Recently I noticed geese congregating in a harvested cornfield. The field had plenty of corn the combine missed, a small pond, a perfect sanctuary for migrating geese. I pulled my car over to watch for a few minutes. Small groups of geese rose, flying off while others landed.
The geese have something important to say to us at this particular moment. I noticed that even if only three geese took off, they kept the v-formation. When I got home I wanted to stay in this moment of nature connection versus hearing more headlines. So I googled geese migration. And learned that geese flying together in the v-formation increase their daily range by 71 percent. The honking we hear is the guys in back encouraging the ones up front to keep up their speed.
It’s hard to keep up with the speed of life at this moment. So much is outside our control. And that’s hard for those of us with a “Let’s get ‘er done” mentality. How to deal with so much heartbreak, loss, sadness, even anger?
We could circle our tribal wagons, firing at all we think are wrong. We can stop talking, stop listening, stop loving each other through our differences.
Or we can lean into the tensions of the moment. Surrender our need to understand, control, be right. We could talk less, listen more, make soup, dust, call a friend. There’s no magic here. No promise of rainbows, unicorns, and kittens. Just the sitting with brokenness. Letting confusion reign until we know what the next best step is. Acknowledging the real loss, pain, and sadness.
Stubborn hope waits out loss and heartbreak. Stubborn hope let’s loss and grief have their moments and then, eventually taps us on the shoulder with dreams, hopes, desire.
Stubborn hope sounds like the call of geese flying south. Stubborn hope urges us onward.