hope in desperate times

“What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps [humans] to rise above themselves.” ― Albert Camus, The Plague

This is not the time to give in to fear, anxiety and despair – though the evidence all around may lead to all these emotions and feeling. Word from the singer Joan Armatrading – “these are the times…you’re bound to feel/All sanity is lost” may map onto to how we are feeling right now. Listening to her song, though, one quickly realises that is filled with hope!

We are not alone in struggling for and to hope and all is not lost though many continue to fall ill and die and many are working under extreme pressure. There are also positive things happening around us as collective efforts, community spirit, goodness, trans-national solidarity and the commitment of many on the ‘front-line’ continue to demonstrate that we (humans) have the capacity to rise above habits of insularity  – grown over the years and fed into our consciousness.  There are shoots of hope, though in these times words may continue to fail us.

Maybe, silence or becoming speechless is not necessarily a negative thing in a situation where we are overloaded with unhelpful words and sound-bites. Perhaps, our awareness would find necessary space to thrive and feed us for constructive engagement. Yes, despair and anxiety of the moment will cause us not to think instinctively of the present, but of the future, surmising it is going to be bleak and hopeless.  Yet, uncertainty of the future carries with it hope-filled possibilities. It is one thing to raise our eyes to the steepness of the steps. It is another matter to step-up and climb those steps. It can be done. We are not alone.

The writing is not only on the wall – it is within each of and right before us. Humankind may be on the ropes and our ultimate (a)rising will depend on the speed with which we can collectively adapt, stop squabbling, end wishing to make only our own nation great, see goodness in all, and tackle all that have brought us to this point where dystopian imaginings are now reality. Our future has become present is an invitation to ‘turn around’ – to experience conversion or heart, head and mind. Yes, lock-down and social distancing are necessary for our cure: but it is an act of solidarity not something only for ourselves but for the common good. Hope urges us to acts of solidarity for the common good instead of ‘turning-in’ on ourselves!

In our (a)rising out of and from the current pandemic: what sort of present and future will be re-building? Will it be ‘business’ as usual? Will the gifts we have been blessed with become items to speculate on and commodify for the sake of few? Or will all these be used to build a world in which we live in harmony with the whole of creation. I hope that in our commitment for change and a better world we can collectively work the angle of a promise for a brighter present and future rather than trying to motivate actions by guilt and shame. As the late Vaclav Havel wrote: “The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.”

© caribleaper March 2020

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