One of the things I find most delightful and frustrating about human beings is our capacity for hope.
I have seen with my own eyes that even when all evidence points to giving up, hope is still intricately woven into the human condition. Ask the Vikings fans if we will ever go to the Super Bowl, or the teacher working overtime with a tremendously difficult student, or the addict who attends their first meeting about why they feel compelled to an unlikely future.
I’m thinking a lot about hope because I need it right now. There are problems with hope because it’s always temporary. Even if the Vikings don’t win the Super Bowl, there is always next year; a teacher may inspire this student today but education is a lifelong project; and every addict knows they are a drink or a drug away from some terrible outcomes.
I’m not looking for the supernatural; I’m looking for that feeling you get when you’re in a room, conversation, sanctuary and your hope and love is going in the same direction. Not being alone in your hope and love is one of the most comforting feelings of the human experience.
Social distancing is not what erodes my hope despite a desire to be physically among other humans. When professed Christians are belligerently disrespectful, I understand why non-Christians steer clear of church. When politics isn’t just a hot button but a bomb for the common people, no wonder those we elect are hyper partisans. A pandemic threatening lives becomes not something for our country to rally against but a cost-benefit analysis of who is expendable then we are no longer our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. People that I would normally identify as loving something I love are doing so in a way that repulses rather than invites or inspires.
We can grow and cultivate hope in our communities. We can learn, if only for a time, to see each other as neighbors who other people love and need. There are political leaders and religious leaders who want to convince you otherwise because there is money and power in it for them. We can, once again, show the enduring power of humans to hope, dream and work together for a better future.
There are a lot of things that sap my hope but you are not one of them. Thank you for that. Wear a mask, wash your hands and vote.