“Over the Rainbow” by Jennifer Hudson | August 19, 2020
Patience is not something for which I am known. I’m sick of waiting for things to get better. This pandemic. The injustices and violence toward marginalized communities. I can’t help but feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, living (even prior to the pandemic) in a sepia-toned black-and-white world, dreaming of somewhere over the rainbow. I’ve kept wondering how long until I can finally open the door and step into a vibrant Technicolor world, one full of everything my heart longs for and dreams.
I know I’m not alone in my anticipation. We’re all waiting for a promised land—be that the post-pandemic world, an end to all the –isms and phobias that plague our society, or something very personal. Whatever each of us anticipates with hope and longing, 2020 has proven we’re not unlike the Israelites on their journey out of Egypt. We keep asking, like impatient children on a road trip, are we there yet?
We don’t know how long it will take to reach our individual and collective promised lands. Moses never saw the land of milk and honey. But he trusted God’s promise.
Trusting in a better tomorrow is difficult in the midst of death and hatred. When trust gets hard, when we start to lose hope, it’s a good idea to check in with ourselves. Sit with and acknowledge what we feel. When we’ve done that, we might ask ourselves: what can this teach me about myself? About others? About my relationship with God? What serves me and the greater good well and what doesn’t? What action can I take now using what is available to me?
2020 has not been easy, but in reviewing, I realize this was time needed to myself. To listen to the still, small voice within. To develop self-compassion and loving-kindness. To make new connections (thank you, Zoom). To try new things. To be fully present in the here and now and find joy in it. As a result, I’ve discovered a lot about myself that I didn’t know prior to the pandemic. I also learned how to be my own best friend. And perhaps the biggest lesson (which I am still absorbing) is that everything needed to build my Technicolor future is already gifted to me and present now. The way to unlock that future is believing it’s already here. None of these insights would have been gained if not for this extended hold on life. In sum, patience was the developed virtue that got me there.
The promised land—that “somewhere over the rainbow”—isn’t as far off in the future as we think. Dorothy learned she always had the power within herself to go home. She didn’t need to get it from the Wizard. The same is true for us. Whatever the deepest longings of our hearts, we’ve always held the power to unlocking the door to them. That power is here and now within us. How we use that power, how we respond to what happens, and what actions we take is our decision. And the Spirit breathes into and guides us along on our journeys every step of the way.