Monday, March 22, 2010

Blue Skies and Practicing Hope

I don't know how many words there are in all the human languages for "up" and "down" but there must be hundreds. They all describe the daily life of almost all of us. "Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down," is the musical way of describing our human journey, Paul Robeson sang it so powerfully. Life is yin-yang, push-pull, a tug of war, and for all the hazards and uncertainties that brings us I never thought it was so bad a way to live. If nothing else it keeps us from being bored out of our minds. It keeps us from being ordinary, predictable, safe. I've suffered a lot of ennui this particular winter from the prolonged cold here in Nebraska and I've had visions of all those years our family spent in the Republic of Panama with 85 degree temperature year round, warm oceans, fresh fruit in the garden every day of the year. Then I remember those times in that beautiful country when I was nostalgic for wintry mornings and sleds and snow and... Sameness can be deadly.

I tune into this human peculiarity when I see the stresses and trials of my friends and acquaintances. I sympathize with their defeats and undeserved sorrows. I've never been so dumb as to be a blind Pollyanna or reckless Candide who see nothing but blue skies and pure joy. Life is a lot more than constant blue skies even in Panama and certainly a lot more than just continuous joy. But even so, I'll tell you something: Bitching and blaming never turned a grey sky into a blue one and complaining never in the history of the world made a 'down' into an 'up.' What does help us at least move closer to an 'up' is the knowledge that practicing hope makes hope. "See the birds of the air, how they neither spin nor gather into barns, yet see how they are fed.'" Life is a waiting banquet, a banquet of good news, of victories great or small, of hope unconquerable, of expectations, of efforts, of attitude. So - in the midst of our downs, hey, look up, son-of-a-gun!, the sky has turned blue and we didn't even know it.

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