I am generally not a silver-lining person. In fact, if you tell me about a silver lining, I may very well try to convince you that it’s actually a doom-and-gloom grey. It probably just happens to look silver because it’s a sunny day, and the light is giving it a faint shimmer. Optimistic tendencies just aren’t my nature. But today—when the ever-present feeling of uncertainty is lodged deep in our communities, our homes, and our bodies—I feel an urge to go against my default and hold things up to the light.
Even if I am not an expert silver-lining catcher, I want to look back at myself during this time, years from now, and know that I at least set my gaze and guided my hands toward them. That I reached out, slowly and intentionally, to people that I cared about and said: “This is awful, but I’m here for you.” I want to know that when someone asked me for help I gave it to the best of my ability. And that I said no when I didn’t have that ability because my own care and needs were a priority.
I want to know that I resisted trying to stock up on everything in preparation for an inevitable something, of which no one was sure, and instead recognized that no amount of purchasing could ever make me feel truly safe or enough. Instead, I want to remember that I started projects I had put off, tended to hobbies I had long ignored, and created space to simply sit and reflect on how far I’ve come in this lifetime. I want to feel I was anchored by the idea that when things fall apart, they are inevitably finding their way together—into something amorphous and shapeless during the falling, but something newer, softer, and more whole when they land.
My hope is that I asked daily how I could make someone feel loved and accepted, and that I didn’t reject that love and acceptance when offered to me, including when it was from myself. I want to know I found solace in that tiny piece of me that knew it would all work out. And that patience, a word my dad always seemed to harp on growing up, was my greatest challenge but also my greatest strength.
Most of all, I hope I held onto my belief that nothing matters more than this present moment. And that though that belief was tested—and I failed miserably, tempted by old coping mechanisms guised to erase pain—I came back and I tried. I turned a new page. I forgave myself. I reached toward the light. And I started again.
When I look back at these uncertain times, I hope that I see how this was a powerful time—a time where we collectively held each other up as we embarked on one big starting again. I hope that we supported the sick, the grieving, the financially struggling, and the lonely. And that we knew making others feel seen and heard, even from a distance, mattered.
These times are uncertain, but in a way, they are also simple. Everything that we’ve been practicing, and everything that we’ve said we believe, we now get a chance to try. To reach. To fail. To try again. And to be here for it all, finding the silver linings, together.