"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite the darkness." – Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Today’s America is full of division, isolation, and stress. I’ve often wondered what the difference is between those that are overwhelmed by these negative things, which seem to fill our current culture, and those that rise above it all. Why is one person dragged down with the weight of fear, but another can rise above negativity, seeing the goodness that is all around them? I believe the difference comes from hope.
Hope, like so many other values, is something that cannot be held or seen, yet those who embody hope hold on to faith and look beyond what is immediately apparent. Their perspective reaches beyond any current experience of grief, pain, or anger, allowing them to know that challenging times are followed by times of joy, love, and peace. This perspective extends beyond themselves, recognizing that they are part of a bigger world and that God’s goodness is bigger still.
Hope takes practice. In order to be hopeful, it’s necessary to look beyond the negative things happening in life and begin to recognize other’s caring actions and kind words. Hope comes when we are grateful. Hope comes when we are part of a community that celebrates the generosity of others and tells the stories of those who have overcome obstacles to achieve success.
Camp is one place where we practice hope: We struggle together on the challenge course and celebrate the gifts shared to allow us to overcome the task we’ve been given. We pause and look for God’s presence in the nature that surrounds us. We gather around the campfire to pray, giving thanks for the many ways we’ve experienced God’s light through the day. We begin to recognize the goodness in us and all around us. We live, work, and play together in an intentional way that embraces the integrity of being a Christian community, practicing shining light into the world. That light, along with hope, gets a little bit brighter the more we practice.