We are in such an ambivalent state right now. On the one hand, we see that there is hope on the horizon. The FDA has approved two vaccines. Here in Israel, about 150,000 people are vaccinated daily. And as President Biden is declaring a “full-scale wartime effort on Covid” there is hope that a smoother rollout of the vaccine will begin soon enough and that we all may begin to breathe a bit easier.
We hold this good news with the more sobering messages about stronger strains of the virus, airport shutdowns, and school closures that might last through April in some countries. So while some of us may have awaited the day when COVID-19 would be history, in all likelihood it won’t play out that way. Instead, it will be a gradual process, with stops and starts. State by state, country by country we may take one step forward and two steps back for a while.
How do we hold these two realities together? We both hope for what will be and experience fatigue as we continue to endure what is?
This is a spiritual marathon we are running, day by day. And I am thinking about the hebrew word for vaccination, or khissun which relates to the word khosen, or resilience. A shot of resilience to our souls will help us build up the antibodies we need most to move from fatigue to vitality, from hopelessness to hope.
On this Tu B’Shevat (the Jewish festival that celebrates the new year of the trees) how can we continue to learn resilience from the natural world? Branches laid bare, tiny buds beginning to appear and a world that is seemingly dormant but always moving toward new life, can be our teacher. How might we nurture our bodies and souls in the weeks ahead in the way that the earth reminds us to nurture its soil as well?
Name one way you can nurture yourself physically, emotionally or spiritually right now? (They may be modest things like a hot shower, a call to a friend, or helping a neighbor.)
Name one way you can nurture your imagination? (It may be through art, music, or even simply imagining an event you can look forward to in the future.)
Take a small step that may lead to a regular practice of self-care.
By nurturing ourselves we remind ourselves that we are in this for the long haul and that we can continue to cultivate our sense of hope even when the journey is long.
And as Krista Tippett reminds us in her beautiful book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living,
“Hope, like every virtue, is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory. It’s a renewable resource for moving through life as it is, not as we wish it to be.”
Blessings for the journey,