Tag Archives: Hope

A little ray of…

Hope

is the possibility for something different, something new, something untried, unseen, unfelt. Hope is the catharsis of tropical rain.

Yesterday I had a conversation with an old friend, probably the most adaptable person I know. “I could be angry,” she said, “but that’s just not how I want to be and it doesn’t solve my problem.” A few hours later, I had a conversation with a student who is really struggling with some personal issues. We talked about life and the universe, about meaning and goals, and about what’s left in the world after a goal is accomplished. Just before the end of the day, I had a conversation with another student about the future, a young man who has confidently and quietly made choices and is looking forward to the adventure to come. In the evening I talked with another friend who is considering, as I am, choices that could go anywhere and nowhere.

There are two common threads here and both have struck a chord with me. The first is that sharing and conversing with others, and especially young people, give my life so much meaning. I may not have solved any problems today but there are doors open wide, an invitation to listen, a shoulder to cry on. These connections with other human beings are vital to my sense of personhood, which is to be part of a wider world and walk hand in hand with those I encounter.

The second thread is that all of these conversations, though vastly different in content and tone, were sparked by the hope that there is something else if we’re willing to look for it. There are possibilities if we are willing to do the hard work of asking questions, making changes, beginning again, or beginning differently. And there is the excitement of a world yet to be lived and explored. If there were not hope, none of us would be talking in the first place.

Sunshine

is the golden bubbles that arise out of nowhere and feel like childhood. Sunshine is a periwinkle sky in the evening and the delight of an unsigned thank you note.

When I was little my mum told us how, growing up, she used to wash her long, wavy hair outside in the rain. I went out with a shampoo bottle once but I don’t remember it working very well. Not too long ago I changed into my bathing suit and joined a friend outside in a downpour, one of those rainstorms that quite literally takes your breath away. During a recent and memorable bike ride, it was all we could do to keep our eyes open as we, and everyone else caught in the sudden deluge, giggled and called out to one another, strangers, recognising the shared joy that filled the air.

Last night I decorated Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house with friends and I learned that icing melts quickly in the tropics and that one should put a base layer of icing on the tree-shaped cookie before adding candy ornaments.

Moments that allow us to laugh and play with abandon, to forget our adult decorum and our worries and responsibilities, are moments of sunshine.

Magic

is elusive if you’re looking because it can’t be seen. But magic is omnipresent if you believe it’s real.

Sometimes we say the same thing at the same time. We pick up the phone just as it rings. We send the same story or recommend the same book. Once we learn a new word, we suddenly see it everywhere. If we did it on purpose it wouldn’t happen this way, but it happens all the time when we’re just willing to be.

But sometimes I think we’re afraid of magic. We’re afraid to admit that we don’t have as much control as we wanted, or that there are forces in the universe we can’t explain. And this keeps us from the opportunities to get to know ourselves and others in such a way that allows magic to happen.

And so I ask: What could the world hold if we dared let it?

St. John’s Island, Singapore – July 2020

Soapbox

There’s a great deal of value in doing what is right simply for that – because it’s right. I’m lucky enough to teach at a school in which my students, for the most part, do the right thing. Maybe that’s because it’s a single-sex environment, maybe that’s because it’s a parochial environment, or maybe that’s because most people, when push comes to shove, understand the difference between right and wrong. I have to believe that most people, when faced with something bad, will try to do good.

However, I also know that that’s not always the case. I understand that doing the right thing sometimes means putting oneself or one’s family in danger, and I don’t advocate for that. For example, during the Holocaust, the people who rescued the most Jews (hid them, made fake passports, smuggled them across borders, etc.) were young, single men. Why? No families. No dependents. Fewer worries.

I do not blame those who don’t speak out for fear of very well repercussions. I do blame those who actively try to make others miserable in any situation.

But again, I have to hope that there’s more good in this world than bad. There’s an excellent BuzzFeed article (linked below) from January 2012 that I read, cried over, laughed at, and bookmarked. I look at it every now and then. I cry. I laugh. In a world filled with conflict, hate, poverty, and fear, it’s nice to remember that there’s also hope and love and compassion.