“Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination… Such illumination may well come less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, flickering, and often weak light that some men and women, in their lives and works, will kindle under almost all circumstances and shed over the time-span that was given them on earth.”
Hannah Arendt, 1906 – 1975
One of my favorite songs is “My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit, a Swedish sister duo with a stunning capacity for harmony. The song’s fast and fun tempo invites me to listen and feel the rhythm in my body as they offer insightful lyrics about the struggles of life, including regret and worries about what’s to come. Its chorus includes the title’s plea of “Show me my silver lining, show me my silver lining.” Silver lining is an old phrase used to give hope to people who are in a bad situation. It’s offered give hope in every situation no matter how bad it is at first sight.
The plea for a silver lining within the confusion and anxiety of life, along with Hannah Arendt’s quote about need for illumination, are part of a web of hope when our own flickering light is dim. We look to each other, and perhaps most of all, we look to the artists to kindle our waning energy; the writers, the poets, the singers, and painters. We yearn for their words, notes, and colors to heal our brokenness, to push us out of despair, or just encouragement to step out into the light of day from beds of retreat.
Yes, the pandemic, or the endemic, continues. It doesn’t matter to our strung-out emotions and bodies what it’s called. Yes, it does matter if we need to learn what to expect, but in the end, we are tired and are in need of hope, of illumination or our silver lining.
Look to the artists, my beloved. Look to each other; even in our tiredness, many of us offer flickering light found within small and worthy tasks. When your light is rekindled, turn to another, and pass it on. Show people where their silver lining is found – connection and care.
Love, Rev. Kate