In the midst of what feels like a time of fear, prejudice, anger, and blame, one can easily lose the self into pain and despair. We are living in a divided world – a division that no longer feels along the lines of “us” and “them”, this party and that party, or this nation and that nation. The division of today is taking place in the intimacy of our families and friends. Fathers who voted for this person and daughters who voted for that person; mothers who hold this value and sons who hold that value. When division, frustration and anger enters into the intimate corners of our lives, it is all that much more confusing and painful. And yet, in the darkest moments, it is important to search for hope around you.
When you are overwhelmed with news of violence and hate, when your heart is broken for whatever reason and for all the reasons, look for moments of hope. Look for that act of kindness from a stranger. They are all around you. In the subway of New York I witnessed, a young Polish Christian woman holding the hands of a young Somali Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. The Somali woman was lost and did not speak English. The Polish woman took her hands and in her broken English went out of her way and took a different train route just to help the young Somali woman arrive at her destination. When some political and religious leaders tell us about the division between Christians and Muslims, when they bring out and build up fear, I think of these two women in a New York subway and I think to myself They Are the Triumph of Hope.
And yet, in the darkest moments, it is important to search for hope around you.
When you think the doors are closed, when you feel darkness has arrived, when anger is surrounding you, knock down the brick walls around you and open a window into hope. I see hope in the painting of a Palestinian artist from Gaza who created the most beautiful painting in the midst of a heavy Israeli bombing. Out there, in the colors of his canvas, he writes “In this life is what is worth living for.” I see the words of life in the midst of bombardments of death and I say to myself He Is the Triumph of Hope.
When all is gone, when love leaves you, when what you have built is stolen, pick up a machete and pave a path of hope into the wilderness of your world. Don’t wait for others to create it. You be the one who paves the path of hope. Be Suha, a young Iraqi woman who created a small radio program that boasts out the latest music favorites of her family and friends still stuck inside Mosul under ISIS control. She managed to escape Mosul and in the midst of her exile she paved a path of hope as the world watched mesmerized by ISIS - forgetting the people who bring hope to those around them. I listen to her music and I think to myself She Is the Triumph of Hope.
Look around and you will see That Triumph of Hope. Write it, share it, speak it, dance it, be it, that’s how light shall be seen in the midst of darkness.
When your energy is low, when the tears pour out like rain, when your body is aching, go out and walk in the wilderness. And you will see the broken winged bird flying. And the dog with no tail running. You will see beautiful broken branches. You will see pale grass growing. Within nature lies the source of all hope. When all the light in your home burns out, go, go out and bask under the warmth of the everlasting light – under the sun that keeps on giving. I look at that light and I think to myself That Is The Triumph Of Hope.
When you think we are living in a war, look at the map written in the face of an Indian elder and witness the wisdom that kept him going. He Is The Triumph of Hope in staying still and holding on to that ground of indigenous wisdom until the story of that injustice comes out.
When you think all is gone, do not just shut your eyes closed. Open them and stare into the windows of this world and you will begin to see hope all around you. Hope is in the goodness of people, in the hearts of animals, in the beauty of Earth, in the stories of our ancestors, in the courage of our youngsters, in the fierceness of our oceans and in the kindness of our moon. Look around and you will see That Triumph of Hope. Write it, share it, speak it, dance it, be it, that’s how light shall be seen in the midst of darkness.