Hope Springs Eternal


Viveka Hall-Holt is the 2022/23 Treacy & Levine Fellow at PTU

Hope springs eternal.

This has not always been my experience.  
Growing up, I knew that the world had problems, but I was also confident that the grown-ups knew what they were doing and had a plan. Climate change was maiming our earth and wars tore people apart but I did not need to worry because the adults would find a way to fix it. But the reality of our broken world is sinking in deeper and deeper as I get older. Divisions are wider than I ever could have imagined, and getting wider still. And now I know that the other adults aren’t the omniscient problem solvers that I thought they were and God doesn’t just swoop in to fix everything either.  
So what do you do when you learn that the world truly is in peril? One option is to fall into despair. I’ve tried that one and I would not recommend it. The only other option that I know of is to enter into the slow work of doing something, praying with your feet.  
A few weeks ago, I was on the train and joined a conversation with an Alaskan Native man and a white woman from Skagit County. We talked together for hours about the nice view from the windows and our anxieties about the state of our world, just being human together. Someone came up to us and told us that our example of being together and listening to each other is exactly what our world needs right now. I told them about PTU’s Let’s Go Together initiative and one of them immediately said that they wanted to be a part of our work. Over the months that I have been working at PTU, I have seen people’s eyes light up when I talk about the work that PTU does to empower groups to knit themselves together from disparate threads into an engaged, local community. Telling people about our vision of vibrant communities where people respect and stand up for each other reignites their hope. They want to be part of it. The more people start to share this vision, the more hope and reason for hope there is.  
I still have days, weeks even, where despair creeps up and takes hold of my heart, whispering to my mind that it is the only rational response. But then I watch a movie or TV show that casts a new vision for how our world could be. Or I go contra dancing or to a temple and feel the centered wholeness of being in community, glimpse the beauty of what we were made to be. I come into contact with people who are still doing the work, putting their hearts on the line in order to mend the world, little by little, and they give me hope. 
For me, hope is a spirit that must be stubbornly cultivated, in community, because it does not spring up spontaneously in me. Hope is something that blooms out of a powerful, divine vision and is born through our collective work toward that vision. Hope is a gift that I have received through being part of the work of PTU and it gives me the strength to continue.

Photo by Sara Ferreira on Unsplash

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