"I hope we start seeing forever,
instead of what we can gain in a day..."
I hope we still have a heartbeat,
I hope that we don't turn to stone.
I'm taking a chance on loving,
I hope that you'll take it with me..."
One of my children sent me a link to Emeli Sande's compelling song, "Hope," this week. I've loved considering its message.
I believe that hope is one of the most powerful moral agents at work in the human heart. Hope is the great motivator. Hope is what gets us out of bed each morning. Hope is persistent. Hope is enduring. Hope is what breathes life into our dreams, and faith into our prayers.
When I was a girl, my best friend would tell me all about the camp she went to each summer. It sounded like heaven on earth. But it came with a price tag that, for my family -- with eight children to feed, clothe, and educate -- was insurmountably out of reach.
Even then, I was old enough to know that my parents were doing everything they could to simply put food on the table, provide shelter, and pay basic utilities. I knew that even asking to go to camp, would have been unkind.
But, I was blessed. I had a friend, a best friend, who shared her camp experience with me in every way she could. Early each spring, I would go shopping with her (and mother) for camp clothes...western shirts, cowboy boots, bandanas, and wranglers.
We made a party of ironing name labels into every item. We packed and unpacked her camp footlocker...over and over again...as we counted down the days until she would take the train to Colorado.
Once she was at camp, she would write letters, send photos, draw maps, and share the day-to-day details of her camp life.
I loved each missive and, through her eyes, felt like I was experiencing camp myself.
But each June, as I stood on the train platform while she waved goodbye from the lowered window of her berth, I would silently fan the flame of my own hopes for a summer spent at camp.
In fact, it was from that platform, that I learned one of my most enduring lessons about the power of hope. I discovered that hope was not a choice. I couldn't control it. Hope was a living, breathing spiritual fire within me.
I hadn't created it, and I couldn't squelch it. It persisted. It was self-assertive. I never lost it. So, I looked for ways to "live camp" without getting on that train.
Gratefully, the organization, behind that particular camp, had a year-round field program. And I was all in. I served on the local teen council board, volunteered for committees, organized service projects, attended each event, and took advantage of every work-to-camp program available.
The first time I passed through the gateposts of the Adventure Unlimited Ranches...eyes fixed on the 14,000 ft. peaks that serve as her breath-taking backdrop...I felt the power of hope realized.
The power of hope...
Hope is not a tentative wish. Hope is not an ephemeral dream. Hope is not a fleeting figment of the imagination. Hope is not the heart's plea for something barely attainable.
Hope is a moral power. It is a divine imperative. It is the Father's urging to trust His promise. A Mother's gift of enlightened faith.
Mary Baker Eddy lists "hope" in her definition of "Moral." I love thinking that to "hope," is an expression of moral courage.
Whatever you hope for tonight...be it world peace or basic human kindness, the end of poverty or freedom from anger, compassion for those in despair or grace in government, the establishment of a place where children feel accepted or to find enduring love...may you feel it's power, and promise, within you.
Hope is universal. Hope unites us in the promise of goodness. We are never alone...when we are filled with hope.