HOPE – October 21, 2008
Hope is a wonderful thing. It keeps people going; keeps them alive and engaged in the world around them. Hope is a promise. It’s a promise that everything just might be OK after all. It offers you a better day. It says that there just might be a happy ending.
Never have we been more in need of our good friend HOPE. Turn on the TV, the radio, pick up a paper, read the news on-line – none if it’s very good. None of it offers us a lot of hope. We’ve fallen down. We’ve started to see the glass as half empty. In fact, I’m not sure we’re convinced that it has even that much in it.
Such a simple word.
Two consonants, two vowels.
Perhaps the best four letter word in the world after LOVE.
Again – two consonants, two vowels.
I turned on the TV last night to catch up on the day’s events.
Talking heads telling me what to think, how to think about the big decision in front of us.
Enter the candidates. Two men, very different from one another slugging it out right in front of the kids. Each man pointing out the great faults of the other. One of them going as far as to imply that the other is somehow related to a terrible world. We all know he isn’t and stand back in wonder as we try to understand why this man would accuse the other of such things. Both men have done great things. I might go as far as to say that both are great men in their own unique ways. They both love their country, Heck, you would have to love it to put yourself through the madness that we call a campaign for election. Each one trying to convince me that the other offers me no hope.
The stuff they say about each other make them look like school children arguing over whose father is cooler. Pointless, as we all know.
I have hope. I need hope to keep me going as I continue down this road of life.
One of the guys, the guy I like, seems to be offering more HOPE than the other guy. The other guy, the guy that a lot of other people seem to like, doesn’t speak to me of HOPE. He talks at me. He uses fear to try to get my attention. He changes the subject when asked to confront a problem. He gives the standard non-answer and then swiftly changes the conversation to his well rehearsed sound bytes. He refers to me as “my friend” in a feeble attempt to connect with me. He thinks that I believe him when he says he is here to help, to protect me from evil. The evil he says that the other guy, my guy, brings.
If my guy wins there will be unimaginable expectations placed on him to change the fate of this world and to do it overnight. It won’t happen that quickly. My guy isn’t superhuman. He won’t be able to fix it all. He will have the world watching his every move, waiting for him to trip and fall. I believe in the guy. He will lead us. He will give us HOPE. We will need to help him. It is our great challenge to rise to the occasion, to help bring the change that is needed. It is up to us to offer HOPE to each other.
My guy is going to raise my taxes. Yes, I am a fortunate one. I am in the 5% of those who will be asked to step up and to help out a neighbor. I am lucky to have a great job. I have a beautiful, smart, intelligent, and funny wife. I have two beautiful daughters who have never failed on any given day to make me smile. They give me HOPE.
The other guy, not my guy, keeps telling me that I am going to pay more. What the other guy, not my guy, doesn’t understand is that I have more than I ever dreamed I’d have. I grew up in a house filled with love. I grew up in a house with a loving family. We didn’t have much. I shared a room with my little brother until I was 17. He was 6 when I finally got my own room, my own bathroom, and some space to breathe. We didn’t have much. What we did have though was love and hope. We didn’t hope to escape anything. We had hope for all that was in front of us. Hope for what the world might surprise us with.
So, I am lucky. I understand both sides of the equation. I have much hope. I also have love in my life. And, I should want to share a little of what I have with those who don’t have as much. I don’t understand why others don’t feel the same way. Why is it so bad to be asked to pitch in a little extra to help the cause. Look around. The economy is in a freefall. People – friend, neighbors, school mates from years gone by – are losing their jobs, their homes. So, I may have to pay a little bit more of my paycheck to help others.
I have HOPE that the little extra that I am asked to give can bring HOPE to a family somewhere in the country. HOPE to a kid that is in his bedroom right now talking to his little brother. HOPE to a family sitting around the dinner table sharing a meal that stretched their family budget. HOPE that the world may one day bring them a surprise, a possible happy ending.
So, if my guy wins, he will win because he offered me and a lot of other people some HOPE. When he places his hand on that black book and swears to everyone he will take good care of this country and all its beauty, I will be watching with an even greater sense HOPE in my heart that maybe, just maybe, there will be a happy ending after all.
14 days to go.
I have HOPE.