These are definitely strange times we are living in. We are experiencing day by day what will be referenced as history for all of the people to come after us. Just like the World Wars, Kennedy’s assassination, the space shuttle explosion, and 9/11.
Of course this one is different, as they all seem to be. We are being asked to collectively….just stay home. Stay put. Our lifestyle of busy busy busy that seems like it was getting to a point of exponential unsustainability is just shut off. Kaput. On indefinite hold. Ok, now what?
There is a lot of time now for self reflection, which is something I try to do at regular intervals anyway. But new experiences bring new perspectives. One of the main overarching themes I am recognizing, at least about myself, is the importance of hope. Personally I work very very hard, and I absolutely love it. I love the action, I love the experiences, and I ultimately love the output of what I do (the output being places where lots of people are happy and having fun). But right now, EVERYTHING is on hold. And I mean everything. There are no meetings. No events. No talk of planning. No action. I am finding that the underlying layer of hope which may be the driving force that propels me is missing.
I believe we as people are predicated on the ideal of hope. Now that it is absent for me, at least temporarily, I notice the immense presence it normally has in my life that I normally do not recognize.
There is a great examples of hope in fiction that always comes to mind when I think about this ideal, from The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. In this example, Morpheus (The Sandman) is missing a possession, an important tool, and it is currently in the hands of a demon. So, he heads to Hell to reclaim his property and becomes wrapped up in a game of ever increasing ideas. See below for the gist –
As the game starts –
We then come to the apex –
Which understandably, and I believe rightly leaves the demon like this –
It’s the same idea as “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The idea of hope is much more powerful than any physical force can be behind it.
So how does all this fantasy tie in to us – with this virus, and with how we feel? Why are we indoors? To feel safe, yes. But we are also doing this for hope. For hope that we will all come out of this unscathed, that loved ones will not succumb. And maybe for other reasons. Society as a whole is experiencing something it never has. Maybe there is hope that universal healthcare will become a thing here in the United States, this virus certainly has helped make the case for it. I am sure there is hope of some companies changing the way they do business, maybe favoring remote work more and/or treating their people better. Surely there is hope that comes with any wide spread challenge to any society and the wonderful kindness, solidarity and general well being for their fellow man that people are definitely capable of. The shining light of humanity in the darkness. It always seems to shine brightest in the darkest places.
One of my personal hopes is that people will use this unexpected time in positive ways. When have we ever had so much time? Never! This time can be used to fufill projects that have gone to the wayside, to catch up on personal goals, to spend time with loved ones at home you always wish you had more time for. Yes, this sucks, and yes it will not be an easy process. But along with bad also comes good, and do not forget to look for the good.
It is very likely you are missing what gives you hope right now, but that does mean it won’t ever come back. In fact, maybe it’s time to focus on the hope that your hope will come back. I mean, that is kind of how it works, isn’t it?