And so we begin again. As my home country slightly softens its stringent lockdown rules, we slowly slide into an altered state where a new kind of normality reigns and we sigh with relief.

Although only a select few year groups are returning to school today. But more workers are being encouraged to resume their occupations, under strict social distancing guidelines, while our social circle bubbles slowly expand.

We begin, although we cannot fully discern the shape of things yet because it’s like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing. Though on the surface, nothing much appears to have changed.

Glorious spring sunshine still dazzles our eyes. Burgeoning plant life warms our souls. The sound of laughter somewhere reminds us of the existence of relaxation and joy. They hint at the hopeful ending we desire. The buried hope now come to life.

At heart level, a wave of optimism exists. There’s a shift in how we feel, what we hope for now, how we might live and love from hereon. Hope lightens an atmosphere that was previously leaden with individual, communal, and global anxiety and fear.

begin - spring flowers - garden - buried hope quote (C) joylenton

Although at the individual level confusion, pain and sadness still exist. There’s still a strong sense of what if? and what’s next? and an inclination toward anxiety, depression and discouragement.

These remain hard times because so much has radically changed for so many. Layers of uncertainty seek to undermine this fragile breath of new beginnings and trying again. How do we start to settle our souls at a time when they’ve never felt less settled?

I can’t pretend to have all the answers or know a secret formula, but what I do know is this: We simply begin again. We open up and embrace hope and possibility once more.

We begin again as we do each morning, each day, in fact. Like the sun does as it rises in the heavens, and a flower gradually opens itself up to those early warming rays it receives. As earth does in its cyclical, greening newness and promise.

Faith suggests that beginning again is how we are meant to walk as we rise again with hope in our hearts. Our mistakes are not permanent because we’re able to choose a different direction next time.

begin - spring flowers - pebbles - rise again with hope quote (C) joylenton

We learn to turn away from our bad behaviour and habits and turn toward a God of infinite mercy and love, who shows us how to live better by His grace. We can choose a more positive way of thinking that opens up a path of potential and possibilities.

Because we have choices. We can choose what we let into our eyes, hearts and minds. We can decide how to care for our souls, where to focus our thoughts, where to deposit our love, how to live freely on the inside, at least.

And we get to exhale. We focus on the calming breath that helps keep us centred. Every new breath is a part of beginning again that reminds us of the sacred wonder it is and how easily it can be compromised or lost.

Embracing hope means embracing life, embracing renewal, and the sacred space for growth it offers us. Where are you seeing signs of hope, my friend? What helps you begin again after hardship and setbacks? Let’s encourage one another in the comments below. Xo 😊💜

begin - swan and cygnets - Embracing hope quote (C) joylenton