I wasn’t expecting this.
A few days before, the weather app on my phone revealed that it would be 68 degrees in February, and since I live in a winter climate, this was already surprising. But the most astonishing thing was watching what it did to us.
I decided to take a short walk in downtown Ann Arbor and on the University of Michigan campus. Immediately, I was stunned at the sheer number of people outside. It seemed that everyone had the exact same idea.
The warmth transformed us, not only because it was enjoyable, but because it helped us relate in a different way, a way we desperately needed. In the middle of winter, people passed each other on the sidewalks while smiling. Strangers began to talk to one another. Panhandlers shared their best music on the street, and people pet each others’ dogs. Kids ran around with joy, and people ate ice cream cones. It was truly something to see.
Perhaps we were aware that this warmth was special. Perhaps we were aware that it was temporary. We made the best of it, and grateful for its surprise, we harnessed its energy into something transformative.
This caused me to reflect a bit about hope. We all need it. Sometimes, we desperately need it. Hope cultivates a sense of anticipation that moments will emerge – indeed, sometimes, quite unexpectedly – toward gratitude and surprise. Hope invites us harness that energy toward transformation.
In order to have hope, we need awareness of gifts we can count on. The sun rises and sets every single day, even if it is hidden by clouds.
And in order for hope to come alive, we need to be surprised. The sun shone warmly this weekend and completely transformed the ways we related to one another.
Where is the hope you need?
If we start by pondering the hope we already know, it might lead us to some surprising, transformative places.