On Hope in an Uncertain World

I wish I could make you feel as strong and as loved as you are. You’ll find your way, because of that, and because you have the thing that so often wavered in me. You have faith. Not in God necessarily, but in the thing with feathers. You are brightness, Bee. You are hope. No matter how far down you get, you’ll always have it.- Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

My darling wee girl,

This world we live in is an uncertain place.  Just when we think that we have everything we’d ever hoped or dreamed of within our reach, it can be taken from us, in what might feel like an instant.  Life changes.  Friends change and move away, or back home.  Seasons spin around and around.  We grow older, and sometimes wiser.  Love is lost and then found and then, maybe lost, again.

For most if not all of my life, I have wished that there was something certain with which to anchor myself.  Something to hold onto, when life gets rocky (which it inevitably will- if there are any guarantees in this world, it is that things will shift and change and spin, sometimes seemingly out of control).  And in all of those years and years of searching and wishing and hoping for something to cling to, I wasn’t able to find anything except a pattern of reasons to fear the future because all I could sift out was that bad things seem to happen to me.  All I could see, when I examined life, was hurt and pain and trauma– not just in my own life but in the lives of those around me and the within the world itself.  I began to expect that the world was full of hurt, instead of full of hope.  Even writing this is painful because it is a truly horrible way to go about being in the world: to be fearful, scared, afraid.

I think, if I’m being perfectly honest here (which I can be with you, my darling girl)…I think that it is so much easier to believe in the bad instead of the good.  It is so much easier to become cynical, or jaded, or scared.  But the world doesn’t want us to live small and afraid.

The world wants us to ride the waves, the dips, the valleys…and then rise up, dancing.

The world wants us to look for the sun behind the clouds and the rain, splashing in puddles with extra tall boots as we go.

And so, to prove this very point, the world gives us spring.  The world gives us seeds to plant, never knowing if they will grow.  (In fact, as we used to sing at Camp Allsaw: the healthiest way to gamble is with a spade and a handful of garden seeds- oh yes indeed!).

I would argue, dear Zoe, that whether or not the seeds grow is not the point.  The point is to go out into the world, in all of its uncertainty, year after year after year and say:

Look at me, world!  And even after all that has happened, I am planting seeds, again.

And even after all that has happened, I have Hope.

Hope doesn’t come from harvesting an incredibly abundant harvest, year after year.

Hope comes from planting a million seeds and having one or two or three or even none grow, and trusting that next year, one or two or three more will grow if I plant again.  And then planting, again.  Over and over and over.

In an uncertain world, the only thing we can be certain of is Hope.  Trust that the world is taking such good care of you, if only you will let it.  And while anything in life could possibly be fleeting, if you have Hope…you really and truly have everything that you might ever need.

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