Stalking Hope

The World Series Chicago Cubs vs. the Cleveland Ball Club, the 2016 presidential election Trump vs. Clinton, and the dilemma of my church charge – close the church and merge vs. close the church and go our separate ways; these three “battles”, options, competitions are becoming entangled in my mind and heart. The emotional ups and downs of the three contests going on at the same time are not easy to parse out. At least one of them is now decided. After 108 years the Cubs won the World Series!

I can hear my dad say, “Growing old is not for sissies.” Well, I can now affirm that growing old, watching game 7 of a World Series, listening to political ad after political ad, and closing a church, none of these are for the faint of heart. Growth takes courage. Someone in the church told me of a billboard he saw recently that said, “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.” I like that. But what makes progress different from change? How does the church, our country, a ball club move forward rather than become paralyzed with fear and anxiety over change, or grief over what once was?

It seems to me that hope is a large part of the bridge from change to moving forward in progress. Emily Dickinson writes in her poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers- that perches in the soul- and sings the tune without the words- and never stops- at all.” My feathered hope looks less like a canary and more like a bird of prey with huge talons and a sharp eye. The tune of my hope is less melodious and more like a screech or a howl. I am stalking hope, building up courage, slowly making progress.

Whenever I pass by the caged hawk at the Itasca Nature Center when I’m jogging there, I greet the hawk. I feel as though I am being watched by her. Like my daughter, Temma, her eyes always moving, always watching, ready. I am one who is quick to lose hope. I’m working on that, for this Election Day and for the resurrection of church after closing and merging.

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