Still Reaching for Hope
(Listening to this song while reading, is highly encouraged)
Twenty-four months ago, the stay-at-home order was issued and life as we know it changed forever. The things we took for granted and the faces we remember should always be cherished, but we can never go back, and I wonder how many of us have reconciled with that…
I hope you are finding joy. This life is the only one you get to kick around, finding joy is really all there is. The last two years have been anything but fun, so, if you can find some joy every few days or more, you are winning ….
I have learned to cherish each day, even more than we did in the before times. This day is the one that demands your attention, and it is this day that will never be lived again. Tomorrow will come for most of us, but yesterday, well, it’s just yesterday.
I find myself struggling harder today than I did two years ago. Contemplations that just rolled off me, now cling to the outskirts my moods. Working in a grocery store through this pandemic has been my window. At times it has been a beautiful window and sometimes it is just exhausting. I bring my hope to work every day and I try to offer you some joy, but I am struggling. I have seen huge things go by and it feels like we are just squirming and wandering around…
The hate filled rhetoric we see daily cannot be sustainable, yet I see us normalize it, everyday… this is not treading water, this is drowning.
But I will love you my friend
The fear that walks around today is draped in the colors of bravado, but when you see its heart, it is just fear and I will not be defined by that. I am not afraid; I am who I will always be. Right here beside this window…
I still consume more music than the average person and I think I am generally happy but, I am tired. Sometimes, when the rainbow fades, you just see the long road you still have to walk.
I let myself get tired enough to lay down a friend’s trust. When someone gives you their trust, they are honoring you in the greatest measure. It has made me question myself and ask if I have learned anything at all. The noise of the frantic world around us is no excuse and the exhaustion of living through a pandemic is no excuse, I can only pick up who I can be, and walk.
We all have casualties that we can count over the last two years. The millions who lost this battle and then the millions who are just in a daze, pretending that this is just something that the was made up and we will all get back to normal any day now…
we are never going back…
I still have hope. I still have joy, but we have all felt a toll. I have seen it in my family and the people I work with, and I see it in the you…
I wrote “Reaching for Hope” eight days after we were told to stay home, I wrote about the chaos and the love that we saw from behind the cash register and there is one thing that has stayed constant. We are all, still aching and hurting and many of us are permanently scarred…so many of us are gone, forever.
People are trying to adapt, at least that is what I think we believe, we are all just as lost and frightened as we were two years ago. We are all trying to find our one piece of hope that we can float on until this world either spins into oblivion or a miracle happens. Either way it’s a ride, isn’t it?
When I wrote about reaching for hope, I wrote it with the eyes of those I see every day. That is still the approach I use today; it is the people I see through my window at your neighborhood grocery store that I find so much hope in. We are all doing the best we can, we are smiling, we are feeding our families and we are grasping at any glimpse of hope we can get our fingers on. We want it to feel so real…and sometimes we find it
Most Saturday’s I get to say hello to Henry. Henry is two years old; He is the hope of who we will be, Henry still sees life as a full and beautiful masterpiece… Henry is full of life and his eyes are wide open…
Henry’s mom always comes to my line. I don’t know her name, other than Henry’s mom, I am pretty sure she is ok with that. Henry likes to help count stuff and usually hands me a few things. He knows that I give him an adequate number of stickers to examine. Henry is a remarkable young man, taking in everything and so incredibly full of joy, if you are the recipient of one of Henry’s smiles then you are smiling just like me.
Henry does not know the before, he only knows today.
Henry and his mom are living.
Henry is fearless, Henry’s mom makes sure of that,
Henry and his mom give me hope.
What else is life supposed to amount to, being fearless and knowing joy? If I have Henry’s around me, I will keep my hope burning.
We are not lost, we are just finding our footing, we are just getting our bearings…
The upside of all of this is music. So many of our magical musician friends, have taken this time to pour their hearts into creating something to inspire us, to heal and guide us. I am so thankful for the music that is coming out right now, 2022 will probably go down as one the best years for music, ever. We need it… I will not survive without it.
Xavier Rudd released Jan Juc Moon, on March 25, 2022, I found it a few weeks ago. I have spent a great deal of time taking this in, it has given me a hand hold that helps me maintain my grasp on hope. It has given me a view though my window that gives me peace. When I first heard “The Window”, I knew that I would write about it. There is hope and magic in this song, it has helped me feel a little closer to clear. “Stoney Creek” gave me a reason to dance. Xavier has created a wander through his psyche and a glimpse inside his soul, listen to it, from track one to track thirteen, he gives us bits of his soul to carry with us, into the universe. If you listen and let it seep into you, then you’ll carry a piece of Xavier forever. That is this power of a song and it gives me a reason to hope.
When I wrote “Reaching for Hope” I had no idea that we would still be talking about pandemics two years later, but here we are. I wrote about “those” who make it out of this and how they would be defining a new normal. I think about that now, and I don’t think we need normal. I think maybe it’s best to just look out our window, find the Henry’s to walk with, and then listen to what they need. The energy you spend on others is priceless, choose wisely where you spend it.
The people I work with inspire me. They are troubadour’s, they are poets, and they are still figuring out what life could look like. They deal with issues that would mean nothing to you. In spite of all the things swirling around, they just walk, and they put your favorite tea on the shelf. They might be the kid in high school who just bagged your groceries… they might be that musician who hasn’t written “that” song yet. Some are destined to be doctors and some are animators and some we have yet to see, all of us are very unique and we are each a beautiful thread.
That young lady you just asked to check on your favorite frozen entrée, might be the same women who sits down with you and gives you your options for treatment, just to stay alive. The one you don’t see today will likely be the one you need to see tomorrow.
The joy that I have found in being a part of this group of very special people is unprecedented. They are unique, and all of them have dreams, just like you do. They give me hope just like Henry does, they remind me that there are people in every nook and cranny of this world who care. That is where I get my hope, that is what I give to you, right here beside this window.
I do not know where the next little while will take us, I am not sure what role I will play in it, but I know for sure, the ones who I have walked through the last two years with will always be part of my story. We survived this shit, together.
Have I loved hard enough? That is what I reflect on when I think of the time I have. Have I loved so much that love will persist? I don’t think I have…. I have loved enough to know that love is worthwhile. I have loved enough to know the difference between a love that will follow on and one that just meets today. I will hold tightly to the one that wants to walk on.
Many of the people I work with to bring you your food, are living the most complicated of lives, we are all trying so hard, to just live. That is the beauty of your neighborhood grocery store, it could be someone who is just breathing in every day and another who is just beginning to understand that the day can have something for them. We are all still trying to figure out where we are and how we are supposed to get to the next today. We are just looking through that window trying to figure out where we are going.
I hope to stumble onto a song like “The Window” every single day. I like wandering through the magic that is woven into the threads of this song. I find real, and I find clear when I take in the beauty of this song. It is one of the examples of the music that carries me.
We all grow old and if we are lucky, we find some joy and we gather some color for our thread as we walk through this life into whatever is next. This is the truth of what I mean when I write that I am learning, listening, and growing.
I will love you my friends, right here beside this window…
Learning, listening and growing…