Have you ever had a day where you felt oppressed, like a heavy cloak of despair smothering you? I have. Yesterday was that kind of day for me.
There was nothing about the day, per se, that I could pinpoint, I just felt sad and overwhelmed. To be honest, I felt hopeless and out of control.
As I thought about all that's going on in the world, my spirit cried out to God, "How much longer, Lord?" I wanted all this Covid junk to be over.
This holiday weekend, my husband and I had gone out to run a few errands. As we sat outside a store and talked before going in, I watched the people entering and exiting the store. Every single one of them had on a mask. To me, it looked as if they had all been brain washed. They walked aimlessly forward, masks covering their faces, like robotic soldiers on duty. The ones exiting did the same. The only difference was most of the ones exiting the store eventually removed their masks, but not all of them did.
My heart grieved for our country and I wondered why we'd fallen into such a state of compliance. Where had our free will gone?
I was reminded of a story I'd heard many years ago when I taught kindergarten. The story was about a strong willed child and how he refused to sit down when asked by the teacher to do so. Over and over again, she'd asked the child to have a seat. Each time he'd fought back. Finally, after the teacher placed her hand on his shoulder and gave a strong push downward, he sat cross legged on the floor. The teacher thought she'd won the battle and spoke to the child in hushed tones. "I'm so proud of you, Johnny, for having a seat like I asked you to do," she said. Johnny, still seated on the floor, folded his arms across his chest and said, "I may be sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside." His story resounded in my mind as I opened my car door and prepared to walk toward the door to the store.
Paper mask in place, I reached for my husband's hand as he was fastening the loop of his mask over his ear. We were wearing our masks because we weren't allowed to enter the store without them, but I wanted to scream aloud, "I may be wearing my mask on the outside of my body, but I'm not wearing it on the inside."
I've always been a person to follow the rules, for the most part, anyway, but the mask mandate seems ridiculous. And when my husband complained about not being able to breathe well while wearing a mask, I wondered how others with health issues get past the mask mandate.
Sure, many stores don't have a mandatory requirement for them right now, but I'm sure it's coming.
When one freedom is removed it makes one wonder what's next.
And are there others feeling as hopeless as I've been lately? I'm sure there are.
I've stopped watching the news because it makes me feel anxious and unsettled. You know it's been said ignorance is bliss and sometimes, I think that statement is correct. Sometimes it's better not to know all the details of what's going on in our society, especially when there are so many hope robbers these days.
I love the poem by Emily Dickinson -
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,It asked a crumb - of me.
Hope. Such a small little word with such profound meaning. How do we cling to it? The only way I know is to grab hold with both hands and never let go. But the power behind those clinging fingertips must be faith, for without it, our grip will surely fail.
I hold onto the fact that one day soon all of this will be over. I can't wait for the day Jesus returns. Are you ready? I hope so.