Finding a Bit of Much-Needed HOPE

I often turn to music to keep me company while I work. Sometimes it offers inspiration, other times it’s just some background noise to help pass the time and keep me on track. While my husband is all about the beats, I’ve always been more interested in and connected to lyrics.

Lately, I’ve been feeling down. The isolation due to COVID-19 has finally permeated my shell of reading, crocheting, cooking, and doing jigsaw puzzles. I’ve had to take breaks from social media. While my friends and family have been enjoying the summer together on the Vineyard and Fire Island, or gathering for cookouts in a cousin’s backyard, Hubby and I have been spending an incredibly hot and wet summer in Arizona. The dry heat touted in odes to desert living is nowhere to be found. Instead, it’s been 105° days followed by evenings and overnights of thunderstorms that shook the house and lightning that caused prolonged glimpses of daylight. The moisture begat weeds, which encouraged allergies and insects. Thus, we’ve been relegated to staying inside with the air conditioner on full blast; not quite ideal for socializing during this pandemic.

I’ve found myself humming and singing Dionne Farris’ 1997 hit, “Hopeless” repeatedly. “They say I’m hopeless/Like a penny with a hole in it/They say I’m no less/Than up to my head in it.” I have been feeling hopeless regarding the pandemic. We’ve been vaccinated and more than careful (thus only socializing outdoors). One of the most difficult parts of this whole thing has been not seeing the young children in our lives. We’ve not seen our favorite 6-year-old since March 2020 and have yet to meet his 3-month-old sister. While Zoom and FaceTime are great, they’re simply not the same as coloring at the kitchen table with our favorite four- and seven-year-olds. And we’ve not enjoyed Sunday football with their parents because the kids aren’t vaccinated.

Thankfully, late August brought FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine, which will hopefully inspire more adults and teens over 16 to get the jab. The emergency use authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds opened up the possibilities for us to see our older nieces and nephews, and we’re grateful. Now, as we contemplate booster shots and the fact that we will continue to live with COVID for an indefinite amount of time, there’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. No, the younger kids still cannot be vaccinated, but perhaps they can be better insulated by older siblings, teachers, and parents who are all vaccinated, thus lowering their risk of infection until they, too, can be vaccinated.

As we say goodbye to our Arizona summer, we look forward to enjoying fall afternoons of football and grilling, and being able to hear about the latest high school happenings in person. Now, I’m humming a different tune, one by India Arie: “There’s hope/It doesn’t cost a thing to smile/ You don’t have to pay to laugh/You better thank God for that.”