Each year, I end the year reflecting on the word or phrase that has followed me throughout the year. I know this is backwards in some ways. Most people choose a word or mantra for the new year, but that’s never how it’s worked for me. Instead, as I move through the year, so too does a word of phrase.
This year has been a year of hope.
I started 2023 knowing that we were pregnant and hoping we would be able to share this good news with friends and family. I held onto the hope that by Christmas, we would be holding a new babe soaking in all the baby snuggles. It isn’t a surprise then that this new member of our family has Hope has her middle name 🙂
Hope has begun to arise again in communities of faith and among clergy. Since March of 2020, we have been operating with a “Don’t get your hopes up,” mentality. The idea that as much as you want to plan ahead for mission trips, worship experiences, and even family vacations, the reality of living in a post-pandemic world made that nearly impossible to count on. It was around October of this year that I started noticing our conversations and rhetoric was changing. We were had hopes that things might just go as planned.
My favorite poem is by Emily Dickinson and it starts, “Hope is a thing with feathers.” Hope isn’t something guaranteed, nor is it passive. Instead hoping we will reconnect to each other, to the earth, and to the Divine is deep act of faith. It is this kind of hope, only discovered when we have seen the impact of hopeless living on our bodies and souls, that has the power to make the world a better place.
May hope find you in the New Year because finding hope this year has certainly renewed my heart and soul.