Last summer I was introduced to writer Scott Russell Sanders and his essays. One of his collections, Hunting for Hope, has become a favorite; I refer to its dog-eared and underlined pages often as inspiration both for my morning worship and my writing.
These essays are a response to questions Scott received from his adult children and university students about how to remain hopeful in a world and at a time in which the future seems threatened. Although Scott is filled with concern for the environment, he doesn’t feel despair, so he started to pay close attention to where it is he finds hope. His search resulted in beautifully written personal essays about nature, community, and spirit that shine a light on reasons for hope even in these troubled times.
As I wrote the date 1-1-11 in my journal on New Year’s Day, I relished the feeling of hope that I typically experience each January. Even though 57 years of life have taught me the coming year will have both losses and gains, joys and sorrows, pain as well as healing, I can’t help but be hopeful.
Right now, my hunt for hope is fueled by the crisp, new calendar on the kitchen wall. Its little boxes are filling already with commitments, activities, travels, and reminders of tasks to do. Yet, many of those squares remain open, and in these early days of 2011, I’m embracing the unknown and savoring a sense of potential, knowing that I’m not alone on this journey.