Trapped and Yet

Yesterday as yet another round of lockdown restrictions were announced, I had the overwhelming realization that I had been dropped off in this small UK town at the end of August and I have absolutely no way or means of getting anywhere else now or in the foreseeable future.

And being trapped in a small European town may sound romantic and idyllic, but it completely glosses over the verb. So it’s been a bit of a mental-health rollercoaster over here.

I’m grateful for a household that is willing to talk me off the ledge. And also thankful they are willing to let me experiment with dinner as we try to process all that is happening (and not happening) here. It was a comfort to crank up the music in the kitchen and set to work with no recipe—merely what I had in the fridge. How humanizing to dwell at the table last night and mourn and laugh simultaneously alongside the two other women I am sharing this season with.

It was a comfort today for the clouds to part, and the sun to warm the countryside, and for a friend to say yes to a spontaneous invitation to walk the fields just out of town.

So yes, I am trapped in a small island town. And yes, the indefinite and ever-increasing restrictions here make it feel a little bit like a nightmare at times. But that doesn’t mean there are not ways for joy to creep in. For small reminders that we are human and beloved.

For when we don’t know how to hold hope

“It’s hard to know how to hope in healthy ways.”

I wrote this to a sweet friend who was checking in and had asked if there is a light at the end of the tunnel over here. And I can only think, “yes, maybe…?” And I think we’re all feeling this in heavy and hard ways.

Last week has knocked us back. Hopefully in ways that aren’t surprising because evil is as evil does, but it’s still disheartening and disorienting when it carelessly wreaks its brand of havoc. And after so many disappointments and loses, and the hard knocks of this very heavy time, one more thing may feel like too much.

And you don’t deserve a trite, “well, buck up, buttercup!” Instead, I offer the fact that this is too much. We’re carrying too much grief and our broader culture has not given us a language for lament.

And I really don’t know how to hold hope in healthy and helpful ways right now. But I do know how to grieve. And it’s messy, and hard, and painful. But a wordless groan of prayer is an invitation for the Spirit to carry the too much with us. To invite the man of sorrows to hold what is too heavy for us gives us a chance to process and dwell where we are and steward the burdens we have been given.

Know that I join you in crying “Kyrie Eleison,” and know that though you may not have hope to hold for tomorrow, we have hope to hold in eternity because we have a companion in suffering. May the Spirit fill you with the hope of eternity in the midst of your lament as well as the strength to pursue justice on earth as it is in Heaven.