It’s Friday and the end of another workweek. It also happens to be inauguration day. In the past, I would have enjoyed the pomp and circumstance, the formality and the gravity of the event. This year? Hmm. Let’s just say I am going to sit this one out. I am not one to air my politics out in public-at least not too much. Let’s be real though-there is enough noise out there right now. In a world that is filled with words from the false mellifluous to the vitriolic, the noise is stunning in its overwhelming roar. Who needs more words?(yes, I do see the irony of writing a blog post but, please, bear with me) What is left that hasn’t been said, screamed, penned or flung? So, instead, I am choosing to turn off my social media, tune out of the cacophony and turn inward. Let me be clear-this isn’t a form of protest, it is self-preservation.
I am turning, instead, to meeting new friends, spending time with my family, prayer, and scripture and intentionally deciding to focus on Hope. Someone said to me “Come on, be optimistic!” and, after reflection, I have determined this is exactly something I cannot be. Instead, I choose HOPE. You see, optimism-though it has one foot in hope-has little to do with deeper truths. But, on the other hand, HOPE is what can carry us when optimism wanes. The depth and breadth of hope is astonishing in its unwavering endurance. Hope doesn’t just persevere, it endures.
In 1 Corinthians 13, a chapter frequently quoted regarding love, you find is a treatise, not only of love but a deeper reminder that we cannot see all of the story and of where we need to firmly stand in order to endure.
For we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 10
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known 12
It reminds us to grow, not just in stature, power, or the physical being but speaks to our spiritual growth:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put the ways of childhood behind me. 11
Then the chapter distils, down to the essence, what it will take to endure-not in the sense of suffering through, but to remain, solidly, in spite of all that is around us:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 13
This incredible triad. This remarkably simple yet incredibly difficult triad; Faith, Hope, Love. To stand in the face of a world you disagree with, to cling to faith for what is to come is challenging-to say the least. To have hope in a world so torn by power, avarice, war, disaster, disease, base corruption, and the list could go on-to have hope in the face of the reflection that looks back at us, clouding what is beyond the glass, can seem impossible. And then there is love. Love, something so basic-or so it seems-is the hardest and also the foundation of it all. How hard is it to love my neighbor? So hard that I seldom make it down my driveway to say hello. So hard that my anger at the world keeps me separate from the world. So hard that I sit around and wait for someone else to do the hard work of helping instead of putting on my boots and walking into the world.
So, instead of throwing myself into the miasma of the day I am going to sit this one out. I don’t want to observe one more event, one more disaster, one more anything because the reflection back can be devastating. Instead, I am going to choose to focus on the miraculous triad. I am going to reach out and do something for someone else, walk down that driveway, meet someone’s eyes; engage. I will do my best to turn my gaze towards Hope. I will hold strong to my Faith. And, I will do my best to live out Love with more intention and more direction. And, most importantly, I will pray. Not just for those personal desires or only for the ones I know but I will pray for our government, our country ,and our president. I may be sitting out on the pomp and grandeur, the riots and the celebrations but I cannot sit out on the significance of what this day means. So, I will pray.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13