Ode to Hope
at the center
of my life,
waves like grapes,
the sky’s solitude,
you fill me
the complete sea,
the undiminished sky,
sea foam’s white
the orange earth,
gifts and talents,
birds soaring into their dreams,
and the sea, the sea,
chorus of rich, resonant salt,
touch the water,
we touch the sea,
And the waves tell the firm coast:
‘Everything will be fulfilled.’ ~ Pablo Neruda
For the better part of this year, my life has been like a plane circling a runway awaiting permission to land. I am peering out of the window, the ground in sight, but helpless to reach it, All the while, I am trying to stay calm amidst the confusion, frustration, lack of control and uncertainty. Much like the plane as it circles over my destination, my life is at a standstill. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve felt this way most of the year. Like people all over the world, life seemingly changed overnight, due to a virus that has no regard for anything, including one’s race, sex, age, natural origin, group affiliations, or social status. Covid-19 has changed the way that we live and love.
Since the beginning of 2020, I had reservations to go to California for my yearly visit with my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. I have taken that trip each year for at least 10 years, and I thought that this year was to be no different. As it happened, the pandemic and shutdown forced me to cancel those reservations. Since then, I have canceled and rebooked my reservation at least 4 times.
If dealing with the pandemic were not enough, this country is more divided than it has been in well over 50 years. Hate and racial/social/political discord permeates every facet of everyday life. If truth be told, it has added to my depression, anxiety, insomnia, and the already 24/7 chronic pain that I deal with every day. My mental, physical, and emotional health has suffered in so many ways. All that I want is for this year to be over, because in spite of it all, I remain hopeful that 2021 will be better.
So, in holding on to that hope, I am trying to take control over all that I can control—me. I joined an online bible study group, as well as an online meditation course. I am trying to write more, and once I can figure out a way to share my art/office space with my husband, who has been working from home since March, I will return to creating my artwork. Also, I will return to studying the Spanish language, and natural perfumery and aromatherapy.
More importantly, I’ve felt called to give back. I mean, in spite of fibromyalgia, and the chronic pain that comes with it, we are blessed. My husband remains employed, and although the virus has affected some family and friends, most of us, including my 80-year-old mother who lives with us, are unscathed. We are socially distancing, and doing everything recommended by the experts. I am grateful.
I decided how I wanted to give back. There are so many people who are homeless, hungry and hopeless in our society. Many stand at intersections where most of us to do our best to avoid eye contact with them. I certainly cannot cure the world’s ills, but I can do something in my little pocket of the world. With this in mind, an idea was born. So, two days ago, I filled bags, each with a bottle of water, fresh fruit, a piece of dried fruit, raisins or cheese crackers, mini chocolates, gum, and moist towelettes. I closed each bag and applied a sticker that said “Bless You.” With each completed bag, I felt a sense of joy that I hadn’t felt in quite some time. The plane touched down, if only for a moment.
My daughter, who drives for Uber Eats, agreed to hand them out when she can do so safely. I hope that each one brings a smile to a surprised face, warms a heart, and a reminder that somewhere out there, they are not forgotten. This is my “ode to hope.”