Episode 4: Hope Against Hope
I am a part of the first generation born into a world aware that life as we know it on this planet could go disappear.
15 years before my birth, two Atomic bombs fell: one in Hiroshima and one in Nagasaki. The devastation that ensued should have inspired a commitment to never again build or use such a weapon. By the time I was in grade-school, I was watching films that documented what the day after a nuclear holocaust would look like and revealing that we now had a nuclear arsenal that could destroy life on our planet seven times over.
Just before my 9th birthday, the first Earth Day was celebrated. It was an early warning about the effects of human consumption on the fragile life of our planet. Now living my 55th year on this beautiful Earth, we are being told that climate presents the same threat as our nuclear arsenal: life as we know it may cease to exist on this planet because of it.
We are in the first week of Advent. In this week we remind ourselves of the power of hope. Among the reasons for which religious experiences and spirituality exist is the gift of hope. Encounters with the divine inspire within us a sense of both equilibrium in the midst of dire circumstances; and hope in times when others feel deep despair.
Hope is hard to come by these days – unless we find ourselves willing to accept the hope that derives from either a more blissful ignorance of our circumstances, or the denial of how dire those circumstances are. Hope borne of willful ignorance or denial is less hope than anesthesia – something to mask but not remove the pain of awareness.
I have two questions of the sacred presence that I encounter on my spiritual pathway.
What word do you speak or insight do you provide that gives real hope?
What word do we speak, or art do we create, or poetry do we write that inspires a change of heart; or that compels nation builders to stop stockpiling weapons and consumers to stop abusing the planet?
I find myself in search of hope.
I find myself in love with what the Creator’s hands have fashioned. Such beauty inspires and moves me. I am also deeply aware of my privilege in and complicity with empire.
I will be spending time this Advent season seeking a pathway to hope: hope borne of awareness; hope the articulation of which inspires real change; hope that is more active in orientation than passive; and hope that makes talk of extinction unnecessary.
Fellow traveler, I am glad for your accompaniment on our shared journey through life. May our forays into the Mystic gladden our hearts with hope for the living of our days.