The other day I was kneeling on our curb endlessly digging holes for a bunch of bulbs a friend had given me. They were bulbs she’d bought me to commemorate the loss of our little one, and they were bulbs instead of a bouquet because she couldn’t just casually run into the grocery store for flowers what with coronavirus. I know you don’t need me telling you this, but — what a year.
So even more than usual when it comes to planting bulbs, planting these particular bulbs felt like an act of hope. Who knows what my life and the world will look like when they finally open their bright faces on the world this spring? Maybe our guy will be in office, maybe not. (Maybe we don’t have a guy.) Maybe there’ll be a vaccine, or maybe we’ll still be waiting. Maybe I’ll be out digging in the garden then, or maybe I’ll be laid up inside with a new pregnancy, not a replacement for the baby we lost this year but a new adventure all his or her own. Maybe not.
It made me think about the other small acts of hope we are choosing right now. Ordering Christmas cards felt like another one this year for me — I always order ridiculously early, and who knows now what might change to make my message hopelessly out of date? But just like I know that whatever happens in the coming months, flowers won’t go amiss, I can be pretty sure that our people will still like getting a reminder of our love for them in the mail. (Provided we still have the mail. We’ll still have the mail, right?)
Maybe you’re hacking away at your own little act of hope right now. You’re growing that baby for the uncertain world she will face. You’re starting the next lesson in math with your kid even though concentration seems impossible or irrelevant in light of the headlines. You’re training for a marathon that may not happen this year. You’re doing the things you’ve always done because they’re the right things to do, and if your stance is a little grimmer, your confidence a little shakier, who cares — the important thing is you’re still doing them.