I know I’ve got lots of company with me, circling in this particular Covid vortex. I want or need to buy something. I’m in the store, online or on the phone trying to purchase ‘whatever’, and I hear the words “it’s unavailable…supply-chain issues”. The pandemic’s triggered economic upheaval worldwide, I get it. But for some reason I never expected my hairstylist to say that “supply-chain issues” had wiped out the entire line of hair products I love. That unhappy news was replicated at the grocery store, where Covid declared certain things “temporarily out of stock”. After a string of these Updates (even from my dentist!) in my personal world, I felt my supply chain of Hope starting to choke.
If you asked me today what my World View was 10 years ago, I’d tell you that I was a kind of radical-optimist. I didn’t just believe in or hope for a better Future; I actively lived and worked in that belief. It felt like the core of who I was. But, like a lot of people in the USA in 2001, my optimism began to crumble in the aftermath of shocking and tragic events.
The ongoing pandemic is both shocking and tragic, though not in the instantaneous way 9/11/01 was. This “crisis” we’re living through feels destined to become a lifestyle. I sometimes wonder if the majority of us have already accepted that fact. So far, I’ve resisted the urge to fall into The Pit of Despair (from “The Princess Bride”).
But it does feel like we’re all trying to slog through a relentless, discouraging, domino-effect series of challenges. And I think once again about my supply-chain of Hope. Am I waiting for someone else to bring relief? Am I expecting someone else to fill my order for Hope, and some kind of emotional balance?
“To be fair”, I tell myself, “It isn’t just The Virus getting me down. It’s the way the entire world seems to be in a tug-of-war because of it.” Here in my home state, our governor was faced with a Recall vote, largely because of what he did, and didn’t do about Covid. Zooming out, The Virus feels just like a whip, lashing an already exhausted public coping with fires, everywhere, fiery social issues, and climate disasters. Stagnant “supply chains” feel, for most of us in California, like the least of our worries.
I look for Hope, but it’s being evasive. Or is it? Is there some ‘thing’ or some ‘one’ blocking my usually-clear vision, or do I need to search in a totally new place for Hope? I know for certain where it isn’t. Hope’s not on social media. It’s not in the mainstream media or even in alternative news sources. It’s not in anything I’ve streamed lately.
As things happen, I was feeling pretty hope-less about my spiral when I decided to take a break. Into a new book by Dr. Jane Goodall. Adventurer, scientist, activist, author and ardent spokeswoman for humanity, animals and people. At almost 90 years old, Goodall is still a much sought-after speaker in countries and on forums worldwide. She writes the way she speaks: with quiet, compassionate authority, and relentless Hope.
Could the timing of my new book discovery be any better? The title of Goodall’s latest work is, “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times.” And by reading just a few reassuring lines, I was able to catch my breath, relax, and breathe “Yes.” Hope, Goodall says, isn’t “passive wishful thinking”, but “a crucial survival trait” for all of us.
My determination to survive this current global atmosphere of dis-ease, discord, anger, depression and apathy IS actually my supply-chain of Hope. It only gets interrupted if I lose that survival instinct. That’s so not going to happen. Even though I don’t feel confident in my flow all the time, strength and perseverance is in my DNA. And now I understand: Hope is in there also.