Every day around sunset time, I finish my work shift, come to my house’s balcony and look up to the sky.
That’s simply what I do: I look up to the sky, whether it is blue and clear, or laden with rain clouds. Either way on days in which I am excited and joyful, or on days in which I am discouraged and hopeless, I keep going to the balcony at the same time, looking up to the same sky. And in fact, what I discovered with this unpretentious activity is that the sky is never the same. It always changes, it always surprises.
Strength while looking up
“I want to take with me the satisfaction of being able to contemplate the sky and let something so simple and wonderful transform me”.
This has been one of the routines that have sustained me for the last 8 months of pandemic, after interrupting my exchange because of the increase of Covid-19. For most people around the world, I believe, 2020 ended up being very different from what expected and dreamed before. We had to adapt (or try to do it, at least) in some way, and we had to find strength and resources where they didn't exist before.
And in the midst of all this — of the controversial questions, arguments and hopes — contemplating the sky has been one of my shelter, however simple it may seem. I am telling you that because it is one of the things I want to take with me after this year. I want to take with me the satisfaction of being able to contemplate the sky and let something so simple and wonderful transform me, and let this be my prayer and praise to God.
More being and less doing
It is true that when we live in another place for a while - as in an exchange - we take some of the changes, of what we live and of the people we meet wherever we go afterwards. So I know that I will inevitably carry 2020 time and experiences with me for the rest of my life. It changed me in many ways, even in ways I didn't know were possible.
I look up to the sky every day because I know it changes, but it doesn’t stop being the sky. Maybe this is what I hope for: that I may change, but that I may remain the same. For I know I am going to change, but I want to keep allowing hope and peace to have room in my day. May I - and I hope you too - have the strength to seek more being than merely doing things. Even when so many things cry out for our attention and daily commitment.
Let your own story surprises you
“Life, our life, even fragile and shaky, is sovereign. You can always redo itself, transfigure itself, dress itself with sudden music".
Honestly, I don't think there is “the best'' way to face this pandemic’s difficulties, not least because your story is different from mine. But, if you allow me, I want to invite you to look back and discover something that has changed you and that you will take with you for the rest of your life. As José Tolentino Mendonça, a portuguese poet and theologian, says “life, our life, even fragile and shaky, is sovereign. You can always redo itself, transfigure itself, dress itself with sudden music”.
It may be that, in this search, you will discover that what you’re going to take with you is not quite what you would expect. But let your own story surprise you. Even if it is as simple as looking up to the sky.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”
Rebeca Lessmann Brazilian, participant in Connect Exchange Program