Hope: Better Days Ahead …

All night my heart makes its way however it can over the rough ground of uncertainties, but only until night meets and then is overwhelmed by morning, the light deepening, the wind easing and just waiting, as I too wait (and when have I ever been disappointed?) for redbird to sing.
— Mary Oliver from A Thousand Mornings

We Look With Uncertainty

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.
— Anne Hillman from The Dancing Animal Woman—A Celebration of Life

Morning in a New Land

In trees still dripping night some nameless birds
Woke, shook out their arrowy wings, and sang,
Slowly, like finches sifting through a dream.
The pink sun fell, like glass, into the fields.
Two chestnuts, and a dapple gray,
Their shoulders wet with light, their dark hair streaming,
Climbed the hill. The last mist fell away,

And under the trees, beyond time’s brittle drift,
I stood like Adam in his lonely garden
On that first morning, shaken out of sleep,
Rubbing his eyes, listening, parting the leaves,
Like tissue on some vast, incredible gift.
— Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems

Blessing in the Dust

You thought the blessing
would come
in the staying;
in casting your lot
with this place,
these people;
in learning the art
of remaining,
of abiding.
And now you stand
on the threshold
again.
The home you had
hoped for,
had ached for,
is behind you—
not yours, after all.
The clarity comes
as small comfort,
perhaps,
but it comes:
illumination enough
for the next step.
As you go,
may you feel
the full weight
of your gifts
gathered up
in your two hands,
the complete measure
of their grace
in your heart that knows
there is a place
for them,
for the treasure
that you bear.
I promise you
there is a blessing
in the leaving,
in the dust shed
from your shoes
as you walk toward home—
not the one you left
but the one that waits ahead,
the one that already
reaches out for you
in welcome,
in gladness
for the gifts
that none but you
could bring.
— Jan Richardson from The Cure For Sorrow

The Audacity of Hope

Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us … A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead …
Barack Obama (Democratic National Convention in Boston in July 2004)

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