April 06, 2007

four-letter words

“If you give me the power to nominate, you can vote for whomever you please.”
– Benito Mussolini

I was reading an opinion on public education while I navigated through a wonderful pastrami and cheese covered hamburger and curly fries yesterday. The quote seemed to fall in line with my thoughts this past week. I thought I had been looking at perceptions of hope in the people around me. And in a sense I was. But underlying these perceptions was the context from which they were derived.

What are you expert at? Baking, wrench turning, a church-going technician – butcher, baker, candle-stick maker? When you hear about something familiar, do you fall in ‘mental neutral’ as if there’s nothing for you in this place? – Yes, yes, that’s great tell me something I don’t already [feel] I know…

Do you have a desire for something to happen? Are you expectant or confident that it will come true? Are you willing to persevere, believing that something is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary? Is hope more than another four-letter word to you?

I listened on the phone – No one I ever was with in the past loved me. And considering that, I’m not jaded. I think that’s God. I have hope that God has someone for me. I still actually trust people. The other day my bible opened up to that part about love…you probably know where that is…I need to read that some more…

Hope to me is one of those dynamic and wonderful action-filled attitudes…and so much more. Hope is so much deeper than a trust in the mechanics of people, places and things. I trust that if I feed my car valvoline it’ll run gooder than without it…but this is not hope. Hope is not simply another word for trust. Hope is that green field I lay in, watching birds dip now and then to catch their breakfast…not quite the garden, but near it.

Hope is my response to a faithfulness not my own that is simply supernatural…and it moves like a dance – again and again and again offering my opportunity to play…to dance. Hope is that solvent for sharp and hardened, jaded ideas. Hope is gratefulness for the simplest of opportunity. Hope is not ‘I want’ – people, places and things.

I have a ‘faith’ in the human condition. A jaded pessimism shaped and formed in the sterile foundries of higher education – the human condition…it will continue to fall. But in that, I know with my heart of hearts that not all will…most will struggle. And for those, things will work out in a way that is so well, they will have times of both joy and happiness.

Entitlement is the killer of hope. It is a barbed hook, painful to remove – even for those that come to a place that may have the eyes to see it hanging from their hand. I have sold my hope and dreams in the past to those that would offer me tantalizing choices. As if to say, I’m not using my freedom, give me some extra bacon and dollar more an hour…that ought to make me happy, filled with joy, and complete.

“The Chinese...speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar. "In ritual," say the Analects, "it is harmony with Nature that is prized." The ancient Jews likewise praise the Law as being "true" (Psalm 119:151)…

…Those who know the Tao can hold that to call children delightful or old men venerable is not simply to record a psychological fact about our own parental or filial emotions at the moment, but to recognize a quality which demands a certain response from us whether we make it or not.”
-C.S. Lewis

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