“Life is the pits.” Likely you have felt that way at some time. You especially may be experiencing such emotion during this covid 19 pandemic. Perhaps you’ve tried all your usual methods to cope with a “pit,” and even resorted to those least effective ones like food or shopping, smoking or drinking too much. If you have strayed from spiritual practices or never developed them, perhaps you have turned to them. In the best case, you have found what helps you. But there are times when everything seems to fail us and life is, indeed “the pits.”
Frederick Buechner, ordained Presbyterian minister, author and speaker, tells of a time when he was at a low point. Driving down the highway, a car passed him with a license plate that said “TRUST.” That simple license plate seemed a powerful message to him in that moment and helped him to regain his emotional footing. He later learned the car belonged to a bank trust officer. When the trust officer learned of the story, he personally delivered the license plate to Buechner, who placed it on his office shelf as a frequent reminder to ground himself in his faith, trusting that he would be sustained whatever the outcome.
Several years ago I published a book, Dream In Progress. In it I make reference to Biblical stories of Joseph, placed in a pit and left for dead by his jealous brothers; Daniel put in the pit of a lions’ den; Jonah in the pit of a whale. We can think of others through the years: Victor Frankl, psychiatrist and author, who survived four concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau, for example, or John McCain, shot down over Vietnam during that war and held as a P.O.W. for five and a half years. Our own pits may not be as dramatic but are every bit as real to us as we live through them.
May we be reminded, as Buechner was, that even in the midst of difficulty we are being sustained. In the current milieu where trust in the most basic elements– our government, science, journalism— has been nearly demolished, we have the challenge/opportunity to dig deep within for what grounds us; to foster trust, to nurture hope; to be, as Mahatma Ghandi said, the change we wish to see in the world.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.
P.S. When times are rough, try a Hope’s Café Smoothie: Blend 1 c. vanilla yogurt; 1 c. frozen strawberries; 1 frozen banana; ¼ c. juice. Enjoy 😊