In a week of mass shootings and other discouraging news, we need a dose of Mr. Rogers, a man who believed passionately in the value of children, just as they are, and dedicated his life to teaching them to manage and express their feelings. What a hero he was.
In this clip from 1969, he makes his case. His lessons are as important today as they were then. Take a listen.
What is hope, really, but a persistent insistence that things can be better, that there is more to it, that the final answers are yet to be revealed. Emily Dickinson describes hope as
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”
And this feels right. Hope sits there perched, singing, warming our souls and keeping us fed. A wordless song because we may not even have the ability to put our emotions into words or know what it is we hope for. And this is a positive, persistent hope, but somewhat passive, waiting.
And yet, we know, too, that hope gets its fingernails dirty because while hope sits on the periphery expectant, it can also be in the fray fighting for a better world. That kind of hope is captured by Matthew @CrowsFault:
“People speak of hope as if it is this delicate ephemeral thing made of whispers and spider’s webs. It’s not. Hope has dirt on her face, blood on her knuckles, the grit of cobblestones in her hair, and just spat out a tooth as she rises for another go.”
And this, too, seems true. Hope keeps our souls fed but also prompts our entering the arena, helping us to do the hard work to make a better world for all.
Let 2023 be a year of hope, perched and singing to our souls, but also inching us forward to do the hard work, offering our time and talents, to bring about a better today.