Holding Hope

As 2021 begins, I wanted to reflect on what it means to me to hold on to hope.

Menah’s Matinee for this month, for the 1st Sunday, January 3, 2020, is called, Holding Hope (On Facebook and YouTube Sunday morning).

Hope — an intangible energy that can only summoned through a particular belief in a future positive outcome.  I like that mindset.  A decision that has to be made.

I often think about the choices mentally that we make.  A choice about a belief.  We can believe something good or something not so good, especially when the ultimate outcome is unclear.  There are so many divergent paths along an assumed path. We think we know where we are going to end.  We think we know the outcome.  And then as we are walking along, and often alone, a chance meeting, a stranger, an encounter, an obstacle.  These chance encounters, closed doors, detours, lead us to the unforeseen, yet our path was always unforeseen. We assumed we knew the foreseen, yet we know not “the next.” Not the next step.  Not even the next breath.  We walk in an assumed arrogance, a confidence based on taken for granted assumptions, that our next breath, our next step, our next plan, our next, our next, our next, will be there for us, in the way we want.  We assume that there will be a next.

2020 taught us that there may not be nexts.  The world was required to pause. I wrote in March 2020 a blog post on an alternative curriculum caused by the pandemic and the great pause.

Altenative Curriculum Blog Post During Pandemic

In the pause in the world, we did not know the next.  The energy of infection caught up with us. It turned on us what we had been turning out.  We, humanity, had been turning out infections upon infections, infecting the universe with pollutants and poisons; destroying the environment; moving into sacred ancestral lands; mining where we shouldn’t; stripping forests where we shouldn’t.

And finally, the universe had to push back. She had to say, please, please stop.  And we didn’t hear her silent groans, and so she screamed.  Loudly. 

And we finally heard her, at least initially, for a moment.  For women often are only heard initially when we scream. We are heard, and then, we are ignored. 

And when we first heard the scream, before we ignored, we wondered what was next.  The assured arrogance in which many of us walk in the world was challenged. Paths were halted; breaths were stopped; cars ceased to move along the roads; we had to turn around.

So, when nexts are not guaranteed, when our assuredness is no longer sure, when we can no longer hold on to assumptions, to tangible manifestations of the intangible, what is left?

We have been given an opportunity to hold on to the intangibles in life.  To think about joy, peace, simple pleasures, love and hope.

Menah’s Matinee– music and musings – is about the intangible — words and notes.

Episode 1: Bringing Joy(and Laughter) to the World

Episode 2 Finding Peace in the World

Episode 3: Sharing Sibling Stories

Episode 4: Giving Gratitude

And this week, Episode 5 — Holding Hope

Hope. Hope is a belief in something good, something better.  It is not enough to just hold hope, but much of the journeys of oppressed people has been routed in a mindset grounded in hope – sometimes the hope is based on faith/trust in a higher power. A belief that the eternal Good ultimately prevails.

For me, a symbol of hope is the rainbow.  It emerges at the intersection of sun and rain.  After the rain, but not quite before the clouds have all disappeared, or before it has ceased to have moisture,  the sun appears and creates the rainbow. 

The song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, reminds me about being able to continue to look up and forward, expectantly.  Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high.  Somewhere, over the rainbow, dreams come true. Somewhere, over the rainbow, blue birds fly.  Somewhere, over the rainbow, I can fly.  I should be able to fly.

That is the hope, that we can symbolically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, psychically fly, soar, lift off.

I want to see 2021 as a rainbow, as an olive branch that has been extended, to give us a chance to hold on to hope. 

Painting by Omari Booker

An enduring image for me of hope is from the artist Omari Booker. His piece, above my fireplace, is called, “Heavenly skies through rough waters.”

He shared a bit about the meaning of the piece created during a time when he was incarcerated:

“The title of this piece is a microcosm of my life from it’s beginning around 2006 to its completion in 2013. I believed in an outcome that looked nothing like my reality. The skies had held hope, but the waters were rough. I finished the painting twice over the years, and kept coming back to it. Finally when my life allowed me to complete something and feel good about it, I finally finished the painting for good. The freedom that I had so long waited for in mind, body, and spirit all came together, and this painting chronicled that journey.”

Hope is exactly that. Belief in an outcome that looked nothing like the reality. Understanding that even when the waters are rough, we can look up to heavenly skies and hope, believing that at somepint, we will have freedom in our mind, body and spirit.

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