Darlene Franklin-Campbell, August 31, 2021
Martin Luther King Jr. once said that it’s only in the darkness that we can see the stars. So, the darker the night, the more obvious a star. A literal translation of that for those not so metaphorically inclined is that it’s only in a troubled time, a dire situation, the face of discouragement, that we really notice hope. If all things are going smoothly then we don’t have to exercise hope so much. But hope is that which breaks through our darkness. As Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
Once I went to Mammoth Cave. The tour guide turned out the lights. The darkness was the darkest dark I had ever seen. Then she turned on her flashlight and everywhere that single light source touched was lit. No matter how dark a place is, just one small light, so long as it shines, makes a difference in whether you walk with sure footing or you fall into a crevice. Never underestimate the power of a light, no matter how small it may seem.
Over the past two years, we’ve been bombarded with images of darkness (metaphorically speaking). The news has been filled with disease, plagues, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, war, threats of more wars, possibly biological warfare (I know the jury is still out on that one) riots, political unrest, upheaval in every realm imaginable; mayhem, death, destruction, despair and discouragement, but but whenever I go out at night, the first thing I notice is the stars, the light. If it is raining or cloudy, then I notice every porch light or every glimmer of the moon that lightens the clouds. Light is energy and it always finds a way to get through, even if it’s just through cracks or around the edges of a shade. One sliver of light drives away the darkest dark. So, I’d like to focus on a few slivers of light, of hope.
Hope is free. It is no respecter of persons. Hope doesn’t care where you come from or what shade of fleshly vehicle you’re driving through your life on earth. Hope is an equal opportunity encourager. Hope is not bound to geographic regions, not stopped by prison walls, not squelched by floods or burned away by fires. Hope is not buried in landslides. Hope, the earnest expectation of what is to come, is unstoppable so long as we refuse to let go of it. Even in death, if we leave this world in hope, refusing to let go of it, we leave a light for others. I believe we are eternal, spiritual beings. You can’t kill a spirit. You can’t kill an eternal being. You can only destroy the body that houses it. Hope is the flower pushing its way up through a crack in life’s sidewalk.
We can each be a source of hope to others and since in the Laws of the Spiritual Universe, we are all connected, each time we offer hope to others, we receive it back to ourselves as well.
How can we be a source of hope? Here’s a few examples:
*A man on my street just mowed his sick neighbor’s yard–no charge.
He didn’t ask what political party the neighbor belonged to or whether or not he was vaccinated. He was a source of hope, not judgement.
*A woman just bought groceries and dropped them off at a sick person’s house.
She didn’t say, “Pay me back for my trouble.” She was a source of hope, not racking up an account on a covert contract.
A nurse in a COVID unit just helped a patient charge his Ipad so he could FaceTime his family.
Even though it wasn’t the reason she was in his room. She went above and beyond her pay. Her kindness was a ray of sunshine, a beam of hope.
A man walking his dog past an emergency room door, stopped to cheer up a woman whose husband was inside with a possible pulmonary ambulism. She waited outside, not allowed in the hospital and uninformed of her husband’s condition.
He didn’t care that she was from a different cultural background. He was an example of human kindness, a ray of hope.
A boss just gave an employee extra time off because her father was ill and she wanted to be with him.
She didn’t complain about someone else having to work extra hours. She showed compassion and empathy, a ray of hope.
A lady in the checkout line just told the boy behind the counter that she appreciated his work ethic and thanked him for showing up to do a job that keeps the country running.
She didn’t complain about having to wait a little longer in line than she usually likes to wait. She offered encouragement, another ray of hope.
A lady in North Carolina just said a prayer for a young man from her hometown who is being flown to Afghanistan.
It didn’t matter that he isn’t her own son. She showed compassion–hope.
A church group of volunteers just set up a free food day in their parking lot to help feed their community.
They didn’t ask for proof of citizenship, vaccination or income. They just fed people and offered them hope.
A young Black girl just celebrated her 13th birthday with her White mother and grandmother, Black grandmother and boyfriend and White cousins who are like brothers to her.
Nobody even mentioned skin tones. They just laughed and loved and played together because they’re family and they all gave her words of a hopeful future, many birthdays to come.
A teacher just spend half the summer setting up her classroom for the students that are coming back. She prayed over every chair and the child that would sit in each seat. She planned her bulletin boards and hung posters and curtains and prepared record books and on and on and on…even ordered hermit crabs and fish, because she loves her kids and wants them to have the best experience possible at school.
She was only given $200 in funding to prepare her classroom. She spent $500.00 and school hasn’t even started. So, most of it came from her own purse. She can only get tax credit on $200 out of pocket expense. She will spend a lot more before the year is out. But she does it in hope that her kids will learn and know that they are loved. For some kids, a teacher is the only rare of love and hope they see.
The good is all around us. The light is shining. Perhaps today you can think of someone who has given you hope or some sign of hope that came to you when all seemed to be sinking around you. And maybe, you are also a ray of hope to someone else. We need each other. The darkness would have us divided over issues and policies, but hope reminds us that we are all great spiritual beings and this life on earth is better if we see each other that way. Not one of us can actually see what’s inside another person’s heart and not one of us knows what miracles a single act of kindness can set in motion because that act has restored hope or perhaps awakened it for the first time in someone’s life.