Hope Stands Among the Poor of Spirit
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a creative piece called, “A Child Named Hope.” It began like this:
“And the child was born, and as she grew it became apparent that this was a special child. Her golden hair reflected sunlight on sunny days, and during the gloom of winter she seemed to absorb the darkness, so that those in her proximity felt warmth where there was cold.
By the time she was eight she was sought by millions, all longing to be near her, to touch her, to bask in her peacefulness, and to hear her words. Every week, every Saturday, in a field of lavender, she met with those who had come from distant shores, and she answered their questions with patience, and with love.”
It is, again, the imaginary Saturday, and today we find Hope standing among those who have seen better days, those who have floundered, fallen, and wake each day wondering if there will ever be hope in their lives.
Shhh….let’s listen in as Hope does her thing.
The first in the Hope Series
- A Child Named Hope: A Moment with Bill Reflection
Sit down, get comfortable, and allow me to tell you about a very special little girl
The Homeless Seek Shelter in Hope
She stands at the intersection of Lost and Forlorn Streets as a crowd forms around her. Her smile warms their hearts; her kindness warms their souls.
In the middle of the crowd a man raises his hand. His age is hard to determine. Time and circumstances have etched lines upon his face, and his eyes no longer shine as they once did when he was younger. He is dressed in camo green, he carries a knapsack upon his shoulder, and in that knapsack are all of his worldly possessions.
“Hope, why has my country deserted me,” he asks. “I served my nation with honor. I fought the good fight for liberty and freedom, and when I was wounded they sent me home where help was not available. My cries fall on deaf ears, and those in power no longer recognize me as the soldier I once was. What am I to do?”
The child walks through the crowd, now numbering in the thousands, and finally stands before the soldier. She reaches out and holds his hand, and the crowd grows silent as she hugs the man.
“You are valued, kind sir. Even though your government casts a blind eye in your direction, there are millions of us who greatly appreciate the sacrifice you have made. Follow me and I will feed you. Stand by my side and I will shelter you. Continue to hold my hand and I will strengthen you. Those who do not see you live in shame. Those who do not hear your cries fail to realize that a country is only as strong as its weakest link, and they must live with their failings for the rest of their lives.
“This country must never leave its fallen behind. Walk with me, and together we will overcome.”
The Young Look for Answers
On the fringe of the crowd, a small group of young people stands. Tattered clothes, shattered dreams, listless and forlorn. Hope glances in their direction, makes silent contact, and approaches their group. One of them steps forward to greet the child.
“Hope, we are the unwanted. Some of us have abandoned our homes because of abuse. Others have no parents, and ran away from unloving foster homes. Still others have mental issues, and we cannot find the help we need. Why are we invisible to the good citizens of this city? Why are we pushed aside, spit upon, and treated as though we don’t exist? We have dreams. We have aspirations. We feel pain, we feel hunger, and we feel rejection, just as millions of others do. How is it possible that human beings can completely ignore the sufferings of others?”
Tears form in Hope’s eyes, but the tears fall upon her radiant smile, forming a rainbow. The crowd is in awe as this lovely child holds hands with all the street children. She kisses their cheeks, and her rainbow falls upon them, and her smile sends warmth to the center of their being.
“Those who do not see you,” she says, “are blind so that they do not have to admit their own shortcomings. To recognize your suffering is to plead guilty to apathy, so, rather than plead to such a charge, they ignore you. Is it fair? No! Is it righteous of them? No! Is it beneath their higher calling as human beings? Yes!
“But there are millions who do care, and there are millions who are working hard, each day, to right the wrongs in our society. I have faith and you should as well. It is true that faith does not feed you when you are hungry, and faith does not clothe you when you are cold, but nevertheless, faith will sustain you.
“I will always be with you as long as you want me to be.”
The Work Force Seeks Hope for the Future
Hope returns to the makeshift stage and looks out upon the growing crowd. Among them are the unemployed millworkers and factory workers, the former midlevel managers and the warehouse grunts whose jobs were outsourced. Among them are the former café cooks and retail clerks, the accountants and the carpenters, all, now, out of work and treading the social services waters. A hand rises from the left of the crowd.
“Hope, we do not want a handout. I have three children and no job. I do not want the government to feed my children. I want to work, as my father worked, and his father before him, and I want an honest pay for honest labor. Is that asking for too much? Is that a demand the greatest nation on earth cannot answer? How is it possible, Hope, that millions of well-intentioned and hard-working people find themselves scratching for scraps like chickens in a farmyard, while corporations report billions in profits? How is it possible that our government can cater to the rich and blithely ignore the unemployed?”
The child nodded as the man spoke, and when he had finished, Hope stood higher so more could see her.
“It is possible that one day greed will bring this country to its knees. It is also possible that compassion, and love, will allow this country to soar to new heights. Which will happen? Only you can decide that, my friends. We cannot expect our political leaders to show compassion if we do not have it in our own hearts. We cannot expect the wheelers and dealers in our nation’s capital to rule with their hearts if our hearts are cold and on moral life support.
“Hear me now, for I say to you that love and compassion begin with me, and with you, and you, and you….all of you must lead by example in your daily lives. Stop looking for someone to blame and start looking for solutions. Stop being divisive and begin being inclusive. We will rise, or fall, as one, and the outcome of our little drama is ours to determine. If the government will not help us then we must help each other. There is no other way. There is no magical elixir that will make life better. There is only love.”
The Crowd Dispersed
Those who had homes returned to them, and those who were homeless began looking for shelter for the evening. After they had all gone, the child named Hope stood in the town square alone. The skies above her, once stormy, calmed, and rays of sunshine filtered through the dark layers and spotlighted sections of the city. The wind blew strongly, and the rays of sunshine flickered off, then on, off, then on, as though controlled by the hand of an overseer.
Hope raised her eyes and watched as darkness struggled with the light. Her parents came for her, and explained it was time for her to return home, but Hope was needed on the streets, and there she would stay as the thunder rolled and lightning crashed.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)