I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the correlation between hopelessness and helplessness. I regularly encounter a lot of the former, but I suspect we are all encountering more than our fair share right now, especially with the ever-persistent exhaustion of Covid, landslides, worries about family, friends, or ourselves, our futures … and all of the other unexpected curveballs life throws at us. What do we do when we or someone we love loses hope? We instinctively want to fix it for them – to make it better. And we feel helpless, because we know we cannot.
Sitting with people in their suffering is a really powerful thing. Sometimes you don’t know what to say. Maybe you just sit in silence. It’s awkward. But there’s something hopeful about being helpless together. Miraculously, another helpless presence sharing in our hopelessness can sometimes restore even the tiniest bit of hope; maybe just enough to get through one minute, one hour, or one more day.
It makes me that much more acutely aware that we are made for each other; we are made for community. I believe that this is one of the reflections of our Triune God in creation – that connection we have with each other; we are individuals and yet we are one. That somehow, some way we cannot explain, we are better together, even if nothing noticeable has changed or improved the situation. Somehow in some way we don’t understand, God is present and at work within us.
May we, this week and always, walk alongside one another gently and with love, with a deeper awareness of how much we are part of one another; how much we need one another.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” – Eph 4:4-6