So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
‘Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we’ll be alright
~ Mumford and Sons, “Ghosts That We Knew”
My life has generally been bright and smooth, like a river stone. I’ve had dark days, and painful losses, to be sure, but I’ve never questioned that my life would continue on its bright path, in a world that was basically good with people that were mostly safe and happy. I don’t think I’ve ever really needed that kind of big, grounding hope, that things will get better. I’ve heard it talked about, to the point of cliche, but never needed it.
Lately though, I’ve been feeling the need for a hope that will see me through in a big, overarching way. This year has been one in which I have
been reminded experienced for the first time my own lack of security in the world, of the fact that the world is imperfect and that people suffer inevitably and sometimes beyond any scope of what I can understand. In the days after months of witnessing enormous loss in close family and friends, I feel like I am modifying my identity, or my sense of reality. Pressing questions weave in and out of my mind. Is the world good? Are people mostly happy and trying to do their best? Does God will terrible things to happen to innocent people? Is it wrong for me to seek and enjoy happiness and security while others are suffering so greatly? These questions aren’t just hanging around for pondering over a cup of coffee and a journal entry. They are urgent. I need to know the answers so I can get on and live. How do I continue?
Hope. God shows me the possibility of a better world, one that we all have hands in creating. Hoping and working for the kingdom of heaven on Earth, drawing nourishment from the transcendent spirit that connects us to one another and to the world, and looking forward to a time when we will all be drawn back together without suffering, represents, for me, that big hope that I can’t live without.
Practicing this kind of hope is a new feeling, like grabbing hold of a little gift that has always been there for the taking. It reminds me that the river stone wasn’t always bright and smooth. It has ridden the ancient waters of tumult, lost parts of itself and been transformed.