For an encouraging perspective amid the political and virological gloom that has settled not only on America but also on the world, I offer the following excerpts from an essay sent in by friend and fellow blogger Colin Markham who lives in Southeast England where perhaps even more severe restrictions on one’s daily comings and goings have been imposed than in most places in America.
After his description of a now very solitary walk amid the new and centuries-old streets of his coastal town he offers some much needed perspective.
I am reminded of two things: how alone we can feel in isolation yet how hope lives on, no matter how transitory the backdrop.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 also comes to mind:
In these strange times I pass through silent streets. There is an air of desolation. An empty street evokes a strange sensation; perhaps danger lurks behind a wall or gateway. No comforting sounds reach my ears, no human voices in pleasant conversation, no footsteps, no twittering birds. Only shadows, dead leaves, well-worn steps, seasoned bricks, mellow stonework in the sombre winter light, doorways shaded by gnarled trees that droop as if sorrow has overwhelmed them. These are lonely streets where life has retreated into fear and isolation, streets abandoned to roaming cats and the ubiquitous magpie. From time to time I stop in my tracks to sense the atmosphere and I wonder if the world has been thrown off its customary orbit, if I am witnessing an illusion or a glimpse of a dystopian future. Then I hasten on to find places where a semblance of normality persists, where people seek the few shops permitted to trade or where strollers parade their canine companions. What I leave behind is another world, almost another dimension, a place where the chill wind of crisis catches the spine, where the spectre of human mortality reaches into every soul, every living space.
But hope must persist in the human heart, or else despondency seeps into our very bones. There is always an alternative vision that our minds conjure up, something to maintain a balanced view of our existence, something to replace our present malaise. Yes, these are troubling times and we have no clear picture of the outcome. My little town is a microcosm of a great misfortune that has beset the world, yet out of darkness there comes light, out of our soul-searching there should come enlightenment to ease our anxieties and inner turmoil. Out of evil there must come good, because ultimately evil and suffering are always vanquished, if not in this life then in the next….if only we have faith.
-Colin Markham, January 2021
Image of Corinthians verses source.