Tag Archives for " Hope "

Good News! 6 reasons (+4 more) to celebrate in 2018

Need a little good news? Feeling like the world’s just getting worse by the day? I was too, so I did a little research—academic and personal—and thought I’d share what I uncovered.

  1. We get to live longer. According to the UN, life expectancy has increased all over the world. This makes me happy because I plan to enjoy grandchildren, grandnieces, grandnephews, and great-grands. Maybe even the great-greats! Sweet.
  2. We are winning at beating poverty. Some of the things being done—access to public education, improved job preparedness, increased minimum wage, better education regarding reproductive health—are making a difference. Don’t get me wrong: we have a long way to go; but this post is about good news, so chin up! (Think I’m just sugar-coating? Check out this article: https://ourworldindata.org/poverty-at-higher-poverty-lines.)
  3. We are smarter about water usage. If you watched the movie The Book of Eli, you might suspect our frivolous use of H20 could lead to the apocalypse. But, by all accounts, we are doing better preserving the world’s water supply. So, don’t be worried that the earth is seconds away from devolving into an arid dust ball. Just turn the faucet off, like all good humans should do anyway. (But I highly recommend The Book of Eli, if for no other reason than you get to hear Denzel Washington quote from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Be still my heart.)
  4. We have eradicated (or almost eradicated) a number of deadly diseases. In my mother’s childhood days, the fear of polio was real and valid. Mother recalls outbreaks in her region that would cause parents to quarantine their little ones. Today, I bet few children have even heard of it, much less know what it is. Polio still exists in some places, but the number of children paralyzed by it is smaller and smaller every year. In the US, we have vaccines that protect us from diseases that can permanently alter health or worse. We no longer fear things like measles, mumps, or rubella in this country; and globally, the number of these once common maladies is lower than ever. Thanks to advances in medical research, even AIDS/HIV is no longer a death sentence. That’s some good news right there! Want the details? You’ll find more info here: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/7-deadly-diseases-the-world-has-almost-eradicated/
  5. We are beating cancer. Innovations in cancer treatments and early diagnosis methods have reduced cancer deaths by 25% in the US. There’s still a lot to learn on this front, but the good news is that cancer research and development is leading to real solutions. (Have you hugged a scientist today?)
  6. We have really great young people! Stop believing the hype about how lousy kids are today. It's just not true. Stop believing the hype about how lousy kids are today. It's just not true. Click To TweetThe teens and twenty-somethings I know are awesome! They protect the environment, consider new ideas critically, shop locally, engage politically, and are widely diverse in their interests and convictions. Even if you had no other source of hope, this would be enough. Today’s young people are making change happen bit by bit. They have their eyes on big picture topics—things like peace, justice, wholeness—and aren’t distracted by the way things are because they are too busy thinking about the way things can be.

And there’s lots more! Really. There are many things going extraordinarily well in our nation and in our world. It’s just that bad news sells better. That’s one reason why news outlets tell stories that play on our fears: so we’ll stay focused on their channel or website and buy the stuff they are advertising.

Of course, there are other reasons why we think about the negative more than the positive. But the reality is that there are great things happening all around us. The problem is that too often we just fail to see them. I’m trying to do better at that. Here are a few things I noticed just today.

• The city picked up my trash. BUT they also picked up my recyclables. This was not a thing when I was a child. I did not even know what the word meant.
• My computer is in my lap. MY LAP! A machine that allows me (among other things) to shop, bank, connect, and write, is both portable and affordable. Listen, back in the 1980s I typed my college essays. On a TYPEWRITER. (It was electric, not the Royal Upright I used in high school, but still.)
• Today I learned that a member of my church is experiencing complications from surgery; but everything that is wrong can be fixed. Today’s medical care is tantamount to the magic of yesteryear. It’s amazing.
• And today, I met a woman whose baby was born 14 weeks before his due date. And he is fine. Completely fine.

Good news. It’s encouraging, don’t you think?

So what about you? Anything hope-filled in your day?

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. "
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

origin of hope

The origin of Hope

Published originally 2/22/09

Some years ago, I was overcome by a sense of hopelessness after volunteering in a fourth grade class at my children’s school. (In the story below, I've changed the kids’ names and details for their own sakes.) That day, I wrote about my experience. This week, I found myself discouraged again for the children who make up the “least of these” in our school system. I remembered this long ago day and the lesson I learned and was relieved to recall that I am not the creator of hope, only a servant of the One who is.

The story from way back when. . .

“What’s this?” I asked the teacher, spying Chris folded under his desk.

"I’ve called the counselor, but who could blame the kid. He's been here since 7:00," his teacher told me in confidence, knowing that I knew the situation as well as she did.

“What? The school doesn’t even officially open until 7:30.”

"That's when they dropped him off." Chris was staying in a group home at the time, his dad having once again proven his ineffectiveness as a parent.

My heart aching for Chris, I turned to the other student I'd come to tutor. "She's wearing makeup!" I said, astonished that this nine-year-old child was dabbling in teenage foolishness already.

"I know," the teacher remarked, "We aren't allowed to use any cleansers near their eyes. She's been like that since Monday." It was Friday.

I took Polly by the hand and led her downstairs, where, amidst protests, I helped her wash her face. "I am a volunteer," I told shocked staffers. "Fire me!"

Back in the classroom, we worked on her multiplication tables. She was getting pretty good at ones and twos and we were moving on to threes. She’d be in fifth grade in months and could not possibly be prepared. But that was not the worst of it. Polly and her brother lived in squalor with their single-parent mother who worked, but changed boyfriends with alarming frequency. The child’s self-esteem was pathetic, what with her poor academics and her questionable home environment.

Desperate, both of them: Chris, with his father, an unemployed, abusive alcoholic; Polly with her pitiful academic skills and horrendous home-life. I left the school wringing my hands and wondering how my tiny handful of flour could be leavened in such a cold, discouraging atmosphere. I felt overwhelmed, under-equipped, and depressed. I saw no way around the mounting barriers these kids faced. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to realize that it truly was not humanly possible to bring hope to this hopeless situation. But, since God had put on flesh in Christ Jesus, hope was within reach.

Broken, lonely, heartbroken. Jesus.
Precious, loving, heart-healing. Jesus.

I can't get Chris a new daddy, but because of Christ, I can reach out and lift up. I can't give Polly grade-level understanding and a morally sound home-life, but I can love her as Christ Jesus loves me, wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

Jesus.
Hope.

Margaret & Jessie: 9th Decade Romance

designJust ran across this little gem and thought I'd share. Moral of the story: you're never too old for romance. (Margaret and Jessie are reunited now. No doubt they are lounging on Heaven's bright shores, cuddling like a couple of teenagers.)

By the time I met Margaret Gill, it had been a long time since she’d buried her first husband. Margaret came to love late the first time—she was in her 50’s then, in her 70’s when he died. And that was really enough. She was surprised by love way back then anyway as she never really expected to have a sweetheart. It was a good marriage too. She spoke of him as you would a good friend—one who had befriended you when you least expected it and stood by you through life’s ups and downs. Margaret clearly had a fondness for husband #1, no doubt about that. But there was no comparison between the way she talked about him, and the way she talked about Jessie.

Jessie and Margaret met in their retirement home. They were married only a short 10 months before he passed away—a tragedy mitigated not one bit by the fact that he was 90 something. They felt an instant attraction to one another and began spending time together going out to dinner, sitting by the fire. After a couple of years, Jessie convinced Margaret to marry him. He was 93 and she was 91 when they tied the knot. (She didn’t wear white as she’d been married before don’t you know.)

“Oh Jessie,” Margaret crooned when recalling their time together. “Never in a lifetime did I expect to experience a love like that. Oh how we loved one another. Jessie . . . he was my life’s gift."