When Hope is Hard to Find

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The title is a quote from one of my favorite hymns, written in 1976 by Carolyn McDade, called “Come Sing a Song With Me.” When she taught the song at a women’s state prison in Framingham, Massachusetts, she said she had to stop singing herself and listen to the women’s voices. “That song needs context—‘I’ll give you hope when hope is hard to find’—and they had context to bring to it,” she says.

In recent years, hope has felt a little harder for me to find. I long for it. My country and even the Earth itself are in trouble. We have a climate crisis we can’t seem to do anything about. Hate bounces from place to place like an evil stone from a slingshot. Blame is everywhere.

I think hope means believing good will come even if I don’t know how or when. We live in hope, and would not have lasted this long as a species without it. For dark times have come before us. History is full of them, and inspiring stories of people who overcame that darkness. The trouble is, they’re all history.

On this New Year’s Eve, the top trending tweets were #itsoktobewhite and #DeathtoAmerica. The dwindling majority of Americans is forever struggling with giving up our privileged position. And the way we handle our differences is not looked upon with favor in much of the world. That’s what I see in those two tweets, but I could be wrong. I long for strong leaders to show me some hope.

Here are a few who bring me hope today, when hope is hard to find:

Rev. William Barber, leader of the Poor People’s Campaign and author of The Third Reconstruction, an insightful book on what poor people of all races have in common.

Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate, former leader of the Consumer Protection Agency

Greta Thunberg, Swedish student and environmental activist

Fr. Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest grounded in contemplation and compassion

Michelle Obama, former First Lady, lawyer, city administrator, community outreach worker and memoir writer

Who do you look to for hope? Let me know in the comments/reply section and I’ll put your name in the drawing for Listening Is an Act of Love, edited by Dave Isay, from the Story Corps Project.

The winner of last month’s drawing is Debbie Britt. She wins my copy of Sold On a Monday by Kristina McMorris. Congratulations, Debbie, and thanks for stopping by!

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