‘I pray that God the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.’
~Romans 15: 13
It is so important to hold onto hope in times of crisis. For me, it’s meant a daily choice to find stories and perspectives that offer a glimmer of hope amid the despair and heartache. The sunshine has appeared, and even through the window it offers a sense of joy – the comforting but quiet voice that makes us wonder if perhaps we’ll be okay after all.
For many of us, the stories of communities coming together to respond to one another’s needs have been a welcome relief, and have reminded us of our deep need for each other, and our capacity to work together when times are hard.
For others, the information we’re getting about how the earth seems to be taking the opportunity to recover and heal from decades’ worth of carelessness and damage, has offered encouragement. At Tearfund we are so aware that It is the poorest on our planet who are impacted the most by climate change so I am encouraged to read the news that the air quality has improved in cities around the world and in Venice it is reported that the waters are clear enough to see the fish in all their glory. I wonder if our prayers for the global climate crisis we are facing are being answered in some way?
Many of us have been forced to slow down; to re-adjust our working hours and schedules, to cancel plans and events, and to spend time connecting with family and friends over the phone and online. If we were to permanently adopt our new working behaviours, we could really change the impact we’re having on the environment.
The ways in which we have come together to protect our most vulnerable shows us what we are capable of, when we think of others before ourselves.
From the fashion designers making face masks, to the 60,000 sign-ups for the HSE’s “Be on call for Ireland” initiative, we have seen compassion in action over the last few weeks. Here are a few examples.
- Almost 100 Irish doctors have come back from Australia to help out at home. Beauty salons have been donating face masks and gloves. Community and business initiatives have popped up all over the country.
- Now we know our health service can be accessible to all, thanks to swift and compassionate Government action.
- An Artist Emergency Relief Fund has been set up to support artists facing financial hardship.
- “Feed the Heroes”, an online platform supporting restaurants who are bringing food to frontline staff, has raised over €450,000. Supporting the health service and the restaurant industry in one go!
- O’Neills factory started manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff, and their first delivery is on its way to a hospital in Derry this week.
- An Post delivery teams are checking in with older members of communities at least once a week, highlighting the importance of looking after one another and keeping connected.
As beautifully articulated by President Michael D Higgins, this has revealed itself to be the “globalisation of vulnerability”. Allow me to leave you with his poem, ‘Take Care.’
In the journey to the light,
the dark moments
should not threaten.
that you hold steady.
Bend, if you will,
with the wind.
The tree is your teacher,
roots at once
in the soil
Your gentle dew will come
and a stirring
to go on
towards the space
In the misery of the I,
it is easy to cry out
against all others
but to weaken
is to die
in the misery of knowing
the journey abandoned
towards the sharing
of all human hope
is the loss
of all we know
of the divine
for our shared
‘Season of Fire’, 1993
We would love to know what has been giving you hope as we face this virus – let us know in the comments or by email