Looking for Signs of Hope

It is likely no coincidence that this is my third post in a row that deals with hope. Only a week has passed since the violence in the Capitol. The impeachment process began, merely a week before the inauguration of our new president. The National Guard is stationed inside the Capitol because of the threat to a peaceful transfer of power–one of the critical pillars of a free society.

I have been wanting to write a powerful poem, something pertinent, with the right combination of indignation, sorrow and comfort, but I have been unable to do that. I envy the many poets, liturgists, and spiritual leaders who have been able to grab a pen and craft something that speaks to our hearts, inspires our better selves to rise up and continue believing that good can prevail, justice can be enacted and peace can be in the land. The best that I seem to be able to do right now is to repost this story, originally written three years ago.

Shortly after my mother died in 2004, I was taking a walk in the evening around the fields in back of my home.  I am fortunate to live in a beautiful location, with expansive Eastern views and uninterrupted skies.  On this particular night it was clear, the moon was in its first quarter and the light it shed did not obscure the Milky Way, spread like a ribbon across the sky.

The weeks since my mother’s death had been consumed with the practical things that are necessary, the phone calls, the service at home, the decisions about her possessions.  I had written a eulogy, planned a memorial service with my brothers, tried to provide comfort to my family.  But I did not know how to exist in this world now empty of her physical presence.

Walking in that calm nighttime, digging into the depths of my shaky spiritual core, I admitted that even though I knew in some vague way she would always be with me, I surely could use some kind of sign.  Just at that moment, a shooting star flew across the sky. I have looked up into this night sky for over 30 years and have seen numerous shooting stars. But on many nights I would stand outside in the dark, neck muscles aching in their support of my tilted head, hoping to be looking in the right direction at the right time, without any luck. On this particular night, I was not looking for them at all.

Was that a sign?  Or a coincidence?  Or just the random operation of the unfathomable universe?  The part of me that is rational and scientific says it was just the random operation of the universe and a coincidence that I was facing in the right direction at the right time.  But the part of me that has roots in ancient ties to the natural world says something different.  It says that there are many things so far beyond our comprehension that we can only gasp in wonder and acknowledge them with joy.

I pray we can all find signs of hope to sustain us in this time of fear and uncertainty and that our hopes will never be in vain.

 Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

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