Sometimes, I don’t know exactly what to do, except to just…. choose hope.
This is intentional; this is hard work. Sometimes, it feels foolish. Sometimes it feels just right. It’s not something that I would place on a person or community when they’re feeling down or reasonably afraid — “Just snap your fingers and choose hope!” That’s insensitive and harmful. But when we can choose it (sometimes, we can’t, but sometimes, we can) it can help others do the same.
Yesterday, I looked through my social media feeds and saw fear and near-despair. The news cycle is very difficult. Some are wondering how these things will affect their lives. People are feeling all the stories, and along with them, a sense of helplessness.
So perhaps we have to look to where we can to find hope, maybe even unexpectedly.
-Yesterday, I found that in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — not only that she won her race unexpectedly, but most of all, just in who she is herself.
-Yesterday, I found that in the words of Rep. John Lewis, who certainly knows what it is like to face adversity and even violence. In a Tweet, he said, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. #goodtrouble”
-Yesterday, I found that in the words of M Barclay. They said it so much better than I can, so I want to leave you with their words:
“I know so many incredible humans who are strong and brave and tender and creative and smart – and who are committed to collective transformation. I believe in them/you.
I believe in the witness of the saints who were taken from the world because of their commitments to justice but still left us with words that inspire and speak truths and remind us that none of this is new, really. Their impact lingers and invites.
I believe in what I call God – which is the Spirit of Love and Mystery and Compassion and Courage that permeates everything that is and that is always but a breath away in even the hardest most awful places. And I believe this has existed always and will continue to exist always and no one can do anything to stop that.
I believe in our collective ability to provide for each other – to tend to one another’s needs in various ways. To create care and support and swap resources and hold each other up. Everyone has something vital to offer to the whole.
I believe in the power of protest which is also a kind of prayer. I believe in imagination and the importance of dreaming our future into being. I believe in refusing to allow the horrors before us to be normalized while also believing in the importance of continuing to tend to the ordinary.
I believe, collectively, we are capable of getting through this time together – even if it gets worse. We have already lost some. We will lose more. And this is horrific and unacceptable and the grief weighs so heavy. We must honor all of that deeply while not letting it keep us from doing the best we can to keep more loss at bay. And more people of privilege need to be willing to give up more for the sake of others. And I believe some will.
I know this is exactly what some people want – the situation before us. But I also believe in those who don’t – those for whom protecting each other, and seeking wholeness, and calling for accountability of corrupt power, and tending sweetly and fiercely to one another’s souls in the midst of destruction are what life is about.
I don’t know much else but I know I believe in these things. And even in the depths of despair at the situation we find ourselves in today, that’s enough to keep on. And we need everyone to keep on. If you are struggling, maybe take some time to write out what you believe in – something you can return to when you’re not sure about anything else?”
When you can, choose hope.
When you can’t, look for those who can.
We’ll keep trading off, hoping for each other.