There is a fine line between hope and fear.
Throughout this pandemic, many of us have ricocheted from hoping for the best to fearing the worst. For the past year, it has felt like we have been riding a rollercoaster with an absentee driver. At times we are making progress, slowly but surely, up the tracks to the top of the hill…Then suddenly it feels like we are in free fall, plummeting down, and dangerously fast. Just when it feels completely hopeless, the worst danger passes and we can see a glimmer of hope. Then the cycle repeats itself. Through all of this, there is a level of discomfort in the knowledge that life as we know it may never return to “normal”.
With, or without, a pandemic though, life is about change, isn’t it? Maybe there will be some positive changes to come out of Covid-19. I hope so.
I think what scares me the most about our current situation is our apparent lack of control. Losing control is scary, and I think this is one of the reasons that so many people avoid talking about death and dying. When it comes down to it, we have no control over that either. We fear it because, although we understand rationally that the body will cease to function, nobody knows if there is anything afterwards. Added to fear of the unknown, there is also the fear of being forgotten, of not having lived a meaningful life, and the fear of leaving loved ones behind.
Where does hope figure in all of this? We can hope to live a long and healthy life, long enough to enjoy lasting relationships or see our kids grow up and be happy. We can hope to be remembered joyfully by the people who matter the most to us. We can hope to have made a difference in our communities. We can hope to die without pain. We can hope that there IS something for us after we depart this world.
As we go through life, our hopes and fears evolve, but they remain pretty closely connected. I sometimes feel like I’m walking a line between the two. Or perhaps they are just the two opposite sides of the same path. Either way, I think that if we can hold on to hope, we can manage the fear. If we reject hope, there is nothing left but fear. I choose to hold on to hope.
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