Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 1: Hope

As I begin writing tonight, I say a little prayer of blessing over this endeavor. Having completed my day's work, I find myself tired on this warm and muggy evening, with an itchy rash from the heat. Tiny bugs, like miniature kamikaze pilots, occasionally strike me and my computer screen. I have a bit of a stomachache. And I have promised to write something about hope...

Sometimes I'm not sure what hope really is or where it comes from. But I know hopelessness when I see it. And I see it nearly every day as I walk with people who are suffering. Perhaps you are one of them. Hopelessness, I think, is like a raw, gaping wound at the heart of one's life. When it strikes, it feels like life cannot be endured, like there is no reason to go on. Something vital I have longed for now seems impossible and totally out of reach. Hopelessness is a place of great darkness.

And so, I sense that hope is a deep longing and desire for something more than what I can see or experience in this moment. But even more than that, it is an experience of possibility that there can be change, that there can be growth from where I am now to something more. I do not know what is to come but I wait with an openness and a trust that the suffering in this moment is not all there is. The darkness is what I see; the light is what I believe...

In the image above, I see daisies waiting to bloom. Most of them are still tight in their buds but a few are beginning to open. The evening light and the imminence of their unfolding stir in me a sense of hope. But I cannot say, looking at the picture, that I know that they will flower. Their birth is not certain. A storm could lay them flat. A hungry animal could snatch them as food. There is still an uncertainty at the heart of their growth into fullness. It is not guaranteed.

It is in this uncertainty that we (and all created things) live. Sometimes when too many bad things have happened or positive change has eluded us for a long time, it is hard for us to believe in possibility or to trust that anything good can lie ahead. We may be afraid to hope, to trust, fearing that we cannot survive yet another disappointment.

And this is why we come together. We are not meant to walk this path alone. For when I can imagine nothing but darkness, perhaps you have just emerged into the light and can share an experience that will keep me walking. Or when you feel lost in the dark forest, perhaps I can walk along side of you and tell you stories of how others have found their way out.

We are more together than we are alone. And so, let us walk together. Let us become a people of hope.

(If you would like to consider contributing to this seven day project, please read the introduction and instructions here.)