Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two Choices

Every morning I have two options. I can choose to live the day in fear or in hope.

My practical nature pulls me toward fear. This world is a messed up place, filled with unimaginable suffering, rampant human evil, natural disasters and meaningless death. I can’t pretend these things aren’t so, because they are. If I am honest with myself, I have to accept that in the incomprehensible scope of time and space that surrounds me, I am utterly insignificant.

So why get out of bed? (Other than to pee, of course.)

Because I won’t choose fear.

The very act of pushing back the covers and swinging my legs over the side of my bed is the embodiment of hope: a great big Bronx cheer to all the nay-sayers, the “realists,” the pessimists and every force in existence that tries unceasingly to crush the spirit. In the heart of the mundane; eating breakfast, greeting my husband, waking my children and preparing them for school, even walking the stupid dog!, there is a spark of hope infinitesimal yet capable of generating more energy than a collapsing star.

This is not blissful ignorance, but a call to action. I don’t pretend there aren’t parents who fatally neglect or brutalize innocent children, oil companies who post record profits while collecting billions in government subsidies, or fundamentalists—of ALL religions—who aren’t using their so-called faith as justification for oppression and atrocities of every sort (these are just a few random headlines from the past three days.) I cannot change these things myself, but I will not let them immobilize or enrage me—neither is productive.

Instead I will choose hope.

I will do what I can, when I can. I will try to teach my children that the meaning of life is to love and serve others regardless of differences. I will do my best to put this belief into action at every level—in my home, my community, my church, my government, my world. When I fail, as I will often do, I will pick myself up and try again. I will know that I am not alone. I will stand at the edge of the universe, smile quietly and say: I hope, therefore I am.


(with gratitude to Douglas Adams)