These weeks can be tough. Just when we think we can’t take any more violence, along it comes. Like many, I find it hard not to despair. I get that scared feeling in the pit of my stomach. That’s when I remember 9 things that always give me hope…
The sky – I admit, I don’t look up enough. I’m usually bent over a device or my latest to-do list. But sometimes, something happens. At dusk I’m closing the curtains when I gaze out. The sky’s splashed in orange, yellow and red. I stand a moment, taking it in. And that’s when I realize that incredible vista’s a daily reminder that somewhere a higher power exists. The beauty of that sky gives me hope.
Animals – Recently I got misty-eyed over a Facebook video. An old elephant was reunited with a kind owner from many years back. I watched this ancient pachyderm lumber up to this man he hadn’t seen in decades, trumpeting in excitement. He couldn’t nuzzle this human enough with his trunk and face. I saw then how animals teach us love. And for some reason, that gives me hope.
Children – This past week a friend’s daughter had a baby. She texted a picture of this sweet little boy, her grandson, wrapped in his hospital blanket, brand spanking new! Babies and children are clean slates. Maybe that’s why even the most hard-hearted gets misty-eyed at the sight of a newborn. It’s another chance to get this human thing right. And that chance to begin again gives hope. I can’t wait to watch this baby grow.
Music – After the 2015 Paris bombings, a young man sat at a piano playing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” People gathered around, listening, taking pictures. What is it about notes in the air that moves us, that speaks so much deeper than words? My husband Randy’s in a band. When I hear them play, I’m transported. I wouldn’t be surprised if music linked us to higher, more creative parts of our brain. And as long as those notes are there to hear, I’ll always have hope.
Family and friends – Lately everywhere I turn someone’s hurting, either from a medical scare or unexpected bad luck. And yet in every case there’s family and friends who are there for them. Whether sitting by a sickbed, a basket of food left on a doorstep or a “How are you?” call, I’m struck by the labyrinth of caring that happens each day. These gestures will never make the news. They’re commonplace. And that alone gives me hope.
Community – I love the rhythms of my small Connecticut town – the winter sledding, fall apple picking, spring dogwood blossoms and summer carnivals. I love the sight of my postman driving up our road, giving a wave. I even love the sound of the garbage truck each Wednesday morning. Neighbors and community give life rhythm and predictability. Just knowing they’re nearby gives hope.
The ocean – If the sky teaches us to look up, the ocean teaches us to look out. I’m lucky to have the Atlantic Ocean a few miles away. Just standing on the shore, taking in the immensity of that water puts life in perspective. The oceans touch on each continent. I love knowing that people on the other side of the world are looking at this same body of water. And no doubt, they’re feeling that same sense of awe. That connectedness gives me hope.
Kindness – The last few years my late father spent lots of time in hospitals. And although they can be scary places, they’re also magnets for good deeds. Volunteers knit prayer shawls. Care dogs come and visit. Nurses would get my ailing father laughing and comb his hair. These small gestures were constant. It made me realize for each act of violence in the world, there are hundreds of acts of compassion. How can that not give hope?
Love – My parents were married 60 years. They started out impossibly young. They raised three children. And at the end, my mother devoted her life to caring for my Dad who eventually died from Parkinson’s. I grew up seeing love. I now have it in my own marriage. I see it in many couples around me. That lifelong devotion to another human gives hope.
Looking at this list, I realize they all have one thing in common.
Whether it’s a man playing “Imagine” or the immense ocean or a newborn baby, they all teach the same lesson… life goes on.
There are hateful forces out there we’ll never understand. But there’s also goodness.
And whether we’re ready or not, the wheel of life keeps turning.
How about you? Where do you turn for comfort? Comments are always welcome. Thank you for reading and sharing.