The Flame of Hope

I wrote this to Mikey* this morning:

I’m going to start with your question about hope: how do we hold onto the flame of hope when all else would seek to blow it out? Because I have been feeling that lately, wondering whether we have any power at all. How do we create change, a positive expression of our lives? How do we persevere? And how do I even make sense of faith: “trust and you will be supported.” Is that true for everyone? It seems like such a privileged notion. Sometimes, people will not be ok. Sometimes, they don’t have the personal or social supports. The resources, the money, the safety. Where is their hope?

I’m feeling overwhelmed by the injustices of our world, by how many people are suffering. By how many people we’re leaving behind in our vision of this nation and this world. They cannot simply “trust” and be supported. They cannot have the new age belief that what you think you become, because there are real-world problems that we, as a people, have not solved, that are purposely leaving some people out. That are creating disenfranchisement, educational injustice, poverty—a class of people that cannot simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps because we’ve designed it for them to stay down.

So how can I claim I am hopeful?

Still, I am. I think I have to be, that it is ingrained in me; innate. I am resilient because there is no other way. We cannot be pebbles in a pond, fighting this tsunami of injustice, without hope. We have to be the believers, the ones willing to seek light even in seemingly eternal blackouts. We are broken without hope.

Only with hope can we be change-makers. Can we express compassion. Can we continue to reach out hoping to connect. Can we believe that this life is worth living and that, tomorrow, maybe it’ll be better. Maybe we can make it better.

After all, you have changed me. And not just me. That is hope.


*Mikey is a contributor to our book I Have Waited for You: Letters from Prison

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