Considering Hope

 

    Things pile up in life, I’m learning, as more years of mine accumulate. I’m staring at a pile of bills that are as yet unpaid; there’s a stack of already overdue library books in the corner that I didn’t read; and—of course—there are dirty dishes in the sink.

    Hope and dread pile up too, both the usual, every day kinds and the larger kinds, the ones that are harder to find words for. The ones that are more feelings in your body—in your bones and maybe in your diaphragm—than thoughts: the I hope I am not alone, the I dread where we’re going, the I hope we’re better than this.

    I was in Washington D.C. on November 8th, and after a half-day meeting I sat in a bar, eating a mediocre sandwich and scrolling on my phone. The hope that day, the buoyant joy emanating from so many people around the country, was palpable through my cracked screen—made tangible with Hilary t-shirts and white pantsuits and smiling selfies and peace signs. That hope was almost a thing you could reach out and touch, a velvet covered, shiny thing, but hard underneath, hard because of what everyone has been through. I cried when I saw that Instagram picture of the “I Voted” stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave, and it was a reaction I was surprised by. I am not a public crier; I am barely a private crier, except for when I see horses running, which gets me every time. I hadn’t realized how much I’d been waiting for this.

    And then the dread afterwards. The gutting tiredness and the disbelief and the gnawing feeling that your disbelief just shows how privileged and complacent and out of touch you’ve been all along. The feeling that the world could be better was snatched away and replaced by a bitterness, a brine that made it hard for those small hopes to add up to anything meaningful. For most of November, day to day actions felt more difficult than usual, and I had to remind myself to work, to feed the dogs, to feed myself.

    But then the fight adds up too, or the need to fight, or the need to stand up and say something. And that’s where I am now, in a place where I need to move forward more engaged, more active, and with more hope. A place where we join together instead of fall apart, and where talking to each other, regardless of our differences, leads to understanding. To take these feelings and do something with them, so that hope can add up and outweigh that pile of dread. That’s why I’m a part of Good Support.

--Kara