Ok. True confession time. I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole New Year’s celebration thing. Loud parties are not so much my thing. Nor, football. (Well, a couple of college teams, maybe.) Resolutions strike me as being fairly close to regrets of things I haven’t done yet. If it weren’t for black-eyed peas and my delight that HGTV didn’t show 24 hours straight of the Rose Bowl parade this year, I’d probably be very nearly neutral on the whole deal.
Well, not neutral on fire works. Decidedly opposed, along with the dogs.
It gets different, though, when I ponder 2017 in the context of hope. (You may have heard this story before. It’s the best thing I’ve got!)
There are, according to an ethics professor of mine from the long ago and far away days of Eckerd College, three kinds of hope.
Optimistic Hope is the sort that many of us have been caught up in recently. My hope that the girls would love the Legos we sent for Christmas. (They did!) The rather urgent, at this point, hope that our new Newfie rescue, Phoebe, will stop licking. And that we will guess right on the probability of food allergies. (Or, perhaps, that we can find a general anesthetic to sub for the not yet effective antihistamines!)
Then, there’s Pessimistic Hope. This is the “Murphy’s Law” kind of hope in which anything that can possibly go wrong will, and in the worst way imaginable. The recent presidential election may provide some good examples.
The third kind of hope is where things get tricky. Fantastic Hope. Or, the wild belief that the things we most dream of could, indeed, come true.
This is the hope of weddings. And elections. And grandchildren.
My Fantastic Hope, at the moment, is that the world will be a safe and supportive place in which my girls can grow up as empowered individuals working for the greater good and the fulfillment of their dreams.
Which, if we’re honest, doesn’t seem quite as likely just now.
And that is where wishing changes to hope. Where we don’t just sip champagne or wave sparklers in the air. Where we actually speak out. Where we do something.
(This next bit may seem like a digression, but bear with me, please.)
The other night, Bill and I were watching the DVD of 5o years of Peter, Paul & Mary. I loved it last year. He hadn’t seen it.
It’s the hammer of justice.
It’s the bell of freedom.
It’s the song about the love between our brothers and our sisters…
all over this land…
Fantastic Hope, indeed.
Words from the days of Viet Nam. Musicians in their 20’s, breaking out of old patterns. Mary Travers said it this way:
I remember being on the steps of the Lincoln Monument.
I truly believed that moment that it was possible
that human beings could join together
for their good.
I have turned, since then, from a young child into a grandmother. Many things have happened. More than I can count. And, somehow, at least on my best days, I still hope. Mostly, I hope that Peter, Paul & Mary were right when they proclaimed Pete Seeger’s words to the world. That “human beings could join together for their good.” That human beings will join together for their good.
Now is the time.
I refuse to believe that the incoming presidential administration will suck all the hope from the world. I will not give them that much power. I am a grandmother and my girls are growing up in this world.
I’m going with Fantastic Hope. The kind of hope that goes beyond internal fantasies. The kind of hope that means getting out of bed each morning, looking for ways to make things better. And doing something.
I don’t know what things you will choose. That’s ok. I am hoping you’ll choose some big things. It’s going to take all of us!
We are, after all, what we’ve got. May 2017 be a new time of “the song about the love between our brothers and our sisters…all over this land…”
It is what there is.
Wishing you and yours a hope-ful New Year,