Friday, April 24, 2020

Unforced Hope

Deflect panic
consecrate the good
convert pain
Hear the evil see the
good feel the pain
hope translates
Despair alone
For God's sake which
is to say our
The smiling spirit
transparent beneath
the mask
Leave breathing space
for heart piercing
Challenge the spread
of contagious
Filter the fog
of bureaucratic
On guard for placebos
that trivialize
the grief
Prepare to be
startled by unrestrained
Act with loving
presence to
reshape the pain
Pray into the presence
of a God whose habit
it is to walk with us
Face the world
boldly with
tragic optimism

The last line of the poem are the words of Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning. Simply put, tragic optimism is the ability to say yes to the no of even the deepest suffering. It does not mean that we ignore reality or that we don't do everything we can to stop the suffering. Case in point: to withhold or mismanage resources we have presently to combat Covid-19 is inexcusable if not criminal. And not to pay attention to the science is dangerously shortsighted. But tragic optimism also means we go deep in our soul to find the hopeful strength to triumph.

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