Holding onto hope in the gap

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay


Have you ever noticed how many stories we have that offer us the hope of rebirth and renewal after what appears to be the end?

We have, of course, just celebrated Easter, which is a powerful story of resurrection after death.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we’re also in the midst of Spring with its annual renewal of life after the dreary deadness of winter.

There’s also the example of the caterpillar dissolving in the chrysalis to be reformed into the butterfly as a moving image of a kind of death and resurrection.

Our myths are also packed full of similar stories from the phoenix dying in a burst of flame only to be reborn from the ashes to Inanna with her visit to the underworld followed by her rising again to the upper world (to name just a couple).

And we can’t leave out the powerful metaphor of kintsugi with its imagery of being broken and then healing into a restored form that’s now laced with gold.

I think we are surrounded by these stories because this process of the death of some part of our lives followed by rebirth into some new form of life is something that we all experience again and again, both personally and corporately.

We know this. We’ve all seen it in our own lives and in those of others. We have all these stories that tell us that what seems to be the end doesn’t have to be the end.

Despite all of this, when we’re faced with a new ending in our lives, it’s hard to hold onto hope that it isn’t really the end because whatever we’re losing feels so final, so absolute, so awful.

We are in a worldwide time of death right now. Even for those who aren’t actually dying of the disease in this pandemic, there are still so many endings for so many of us—important events cancelled, separations from people we care about, routines upended (some temporarily, some permanently), and financial stability shaken or destroyed.

In addition, the anticipated time when we hope to start our return to “normal” keeps getting extended as stay-at-home orders keep growing longer week by week. Each extension can feel like a new loss as our hopes get dashed time and again.

We may have just celebrated Easter, but most of us are still in the tomb waiting for a resurrection of our own lives that hasn’t happened yet. We’re still caught in winter’s death-like hibernation even though it’s springtime for many of us outside our windows.

We can equally well say that we’re still stuck in the chrysalis or still awaiting our kintsugi repairs to be completed.

It doesn’t matter which story of hope you choose to identify with most strongly, but it makes such a difference when you pick one and place yourself in that story.

Every single one reminds us that there is a gap between the death and the resurrection. We are stuck in that gap collectively right now.

When you hold onto to one (or more) of these stories that reminds us that this gap is normal, that deaths in our lives are normal, and that resurrection/re-birth/new life is normal and to be expected, it makes it easier to hold onto hope during the gap we find ourselves in.

Which story of death of resurrection (or re-birth or new life) inspires you the most?

How does situating your own situation in that story make it easier to stay hopeful during this gap?

How might you anchor yourself more fully into that story to keep that hope alive?

 

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