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 (NIV)
Today I sat down to clean out my inbox; a task I save for a few times a week at most. One of the email subject lines caught my eye, it read, “Homeless Tip: Hope is not Foolish.” I immediately clicked on the email recognizing it was from the desk of Ryan Dowd a truly dedicated soul who works with the homeless and who artfully, gently teaches the rest of us to remember the human being behind the situation. The email described the moment a man named Cody was given the keys to his new apartment. The first set of keys he could call his own in over ten years. The place was plain, drab and had seen its best years long before but through Cody’s eyes it was miraculous and full of hope. He was ecstatic and joyful. Ryan recalls the times he has been witness to this spark of hope and explains that he feels that the presence of God is palpable in those moments. I was dumbfounded.
I have let myself forget the power and grace that hope holds. But today, reading this email from Ryan and seeing Cody’s reaction to the possibility life holds just made me humbly, joyfully happy. Ryan’s email declaring “Hope is not foolishness. Hope is an act of courage. Hope is worth fighting for,” snapped me back to a better reality. Sometimes it is the littlest thing, isn’t it?
Let’s renew our faith this Lenten season and believe that hope is essential and miraculous, and not forget its power to pull us up from the depths and change us for the better. I think Emily Dickinson prayed this best in her poetry . . .
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.