"Hope is being able to see that there is light
despite all the darkness."
As this new year progresses, we are ever more aware that we truly are a part of a greater global community. Degradation of our environment, poverty, war, pestilence, hatred, and violence seem to be unending and it is easy to allow that to dominate one's thinking. Indeed, the world can seem a very dark place with evil rampant. The problems appear myriad and the solutions hopeless. After all, what can each of us, alone and insignificant, do?
I believe we need to look for those small, bright rays of goodness and action that we see in those around us. Begin locally and then widen your circle of awareness. We all may look for different things, and not agree on all of those, but here is a sprinkling of what gives me hope:
- One of our High School's recent graduates has begun college with plans to study engineering and develop prostheses for those with physical disabilities.
- A neighbor helps sponsor a local gathering each November where the sole purpose - besides having fun - is to collect gifts for the needy. This year that was just under $4,500 in cash, food and toys. Each year, I see more people responding to the needs of those less fortunate.
- One of my friends has worked diligently for years on generating no waste. Through her creative re-use, far-reaching recycling, and non-judgmental example, she has inspired many others to lessen their impacts on our environment.
- One of our county's residents publically offered to run errands for or accompany any Muslim citizens who were feeling threatened or afraid because of outrage aimed at Muslims over recent violence. Many others have agreed to help in this way.
- The Washington governor's 2016 budget addresses urgent needs in the state’s mental health system, including new spending on mental health programs.
- The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales have eight new calves this year.
- 70% of Washington voters enacted a state law banning trade of parts or products made from elephant ivory, rhino horns and other species of endangered wildlife, including lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins, certain marine turtles, sharks and rays.
- A 21 year old Dutch engineering student is working to develop technologies to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution in our oceans. He plans to initiate the largest cleanup in history.
The answer, I believe, is in holding tight to HOPE and basing our actions on that, for without it we truly are lost.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
~ Jeremiah 29:11