In the last couple of months, the state of the world has seemed worse than usual to me. It depresses me to go online and see news of atrocities and deaths and crises. I’m also mourning losses in my life and worrying about family and friends, including a dear friend undergoing treatment for cancer, so I haven’t been feeling upbeat and optimistic.
And yet, there are moments when life glimmers. I am fortunate to be in Italy, in the Casentino valley. Despite my worries, I notice the ever-changing and fascinating cloud formations. I think of my friend and want to cry for her, but as I drive down into the valley, my breath catches at the beauty spread out before me. Occasionally, I’m overwhelmed by all that is going on in my life and the lives of those close to me, but I pause and enjoy freshly-picked figs and grapes.
I’m surprised that this happens – that I can be sad and anxious and fearful and at the same time, enjoy these moments. Part of me feels guilty that I can take pleasure in these things when so much is ugly and scary, but I tell myself that this kind of guilt serves no purpose. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t solve any problems or resolve any situations, and in some way, I feel that the guilt taints these moments of grace.
That’s how I think of them – moments of grace. However temporary and small they may be, they are a lovely respite.