Things Keeping Us Going: Things Are Looking Pretty Dark

Things Keeping Us Going: Things Are Looking Pretty Dark August 17, 2021

Things Aren’t Looking So Good

I cannot ignore the facts. Things are looking a tad bit apocalyptic out there right now.

There are wildfires circling the globe. A devastating earthquake hit Haiti this weekend. A hurricane is heading towards them—and the rest of the Caribbean—now. The Afghan government has fallen to the Taliban. Hundreds and hundreds more children’s bodies have been dug up at the sites of former Catholic school grounds where indigenous children were sent to “become civilized.” Hospitals around the U.S. are reporting being overrun by patients who have succumbed to the Delta Variant of the Covid-19 virus. Arkansas has run out of ICU beds.

It all feels dark and hopeless, doesn’t it?

The Creator works in mysterious ways, though.

Throughout much of the summer, Mary and I have been engaged with a thoughtful group of folks brought together by the arts education organization Revolution of Tenderness. Together, we are reading (most of us are re-reading) through Tolkein’s Fellowship of the Ring. In last week’s discussion, we spent considerable time guessing at what Aragorn meant when he said during a particularly tragic moment that the band of fellows would have to continue on without hope.

Naturally, part of the discussion involved sharing some of our own tragic moments, as well as the collective tragic moment we are sharing right now. We found that we all could relate to Aragorn’s despair. We also found that we shared the fellowship’s recognition of the need to carry on, despite what appears to be near impossible odds of success.

We know what it means to continue on without hope.

Finding flickers of light.

Someone pointed out that when things are totally black, the tiniest flicker of light is enough to take a few more steps ahead, to keep going. From there, our conversation turned to the small things that bring us flickers of light in our dark days. We named things like a bit of chocolate, a baby’s laugh, a friend’s whispered prayer of blessing. When one of us suggested that the flicker of light was God leading us onward, there was a collective sigh of recognition and relief.

I don’t know that any of us anticipated the world-wide crises that would arise in just a few days. I don’t think we expected our (collective) lives to get so dark so quickly. I am certain our conversation about a fantasy novel that was written 80 years ago prepared us just a bit for it when it came, though.

Thanks be to God.

What flickers of light are helping you carry on in these seemingly hopeless days?


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