I don’t know if you ever saw a doubt.
In fact, I doubt you did.
They’re shape shifting little shadows
and they’re more than often hid.
You could hear them on the whirling winds,
that whistled through the farm.
You could feel them in your stomach
or brush the goosebumps of your arm.
You’d hear them giggling in the corners,
in the darkness of the night.
They’re the wobble in the voice
that claims that things will be all right.
And the little doubts got larger,
until they no longer hid in holes.
They now lived out amongst them
and they slipped into their souls.
I know good times are coming back.
I know the sun will rise.
I know the hard earth soon will soften,
and plants will bloom before our eyes.
There will be colour in the meadows
and the river will unfreeze.
But if we’re to move beyond this moment
then these fiendish doubts must leave.
We need hopeful stories more than ever,
we should tell them till we’re blue.
We should tell them till we look outside
and see that they’ve come true.
And the doubts that wreak such havoc,
they were nowhere to be seen.
And the fear they’d brought forth with them
felt so much like a dream.
So remember, little sister,
take courage with you when you sleep.
For tomorrow we might all need it,
for the little doubts that creep.
~Tomos Roberts from “Doubts that Creep”
These days doubt is more epidemic than the COVID virus.
No one trusts anyone to tell the truth any longer and truth itself is up for grabs. Experts are suspect, while government agencies and their spokespersons surely must be part of a larger conspiracy.
It’s an “every man for himself” attitude with everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.
You can see where doubts leave us: we end up in a wintry forsaken place that looks, feels and frankly, is hopeless.
The most recent weeks have been difficult as most students start school at home again rather than in classrooms and no one is happy about it. Churches have been meeting online or outside and will need to make a difficult transition to limited indoor worship services that won’t feel familiar. Businesses continue to suffer the effects of people having less income to spend, and unwillingness to spend on anything but essentials.
A pandemic virus wreaks havoc with society but stories sowing doubts and mistrust are far more damaging. Rather than working together for solutions, we as a society have become more divided and divisive than ever.
When I speak with those whose well-being I care deeply about, yet who don’t trust my opinion or any medical opinion for that matter, my voice wobbles with concern. If I, as a caring friend and physician for forty years can’t be trusted, then whom will they trust?
A virus doesn’t give a rip what our politics are – it is an equal-opportunity opportunist seeking which cell to invade next. “Going viral” is yet another real life lesson in exponential multiplication, whether a packet of RNA or a social media meme or youtube link sowing mistrust and discord as it is shared millions of times and spreads with our help and consent.
We can’t allow creeping doubts to metastasize into a hopelessness cancer that is terminal.
We need hopeful stories, now more than ever. We need to take courage with us when we lay ourselves down to sleep, and dream the dreams of a better day on the horizon. We need truth that is not up for grabs to the highest bidder but is steadfast, transparent and … true.
Until then, we all should keep our masks on to stop the spread and protect others. It surely can’t hurt.