The Fragility of Expectations/The Strength of Hope

There are many uncertainties in this life.  We roll along through our days and believe that our many plans for the future will be realized.  Wether it is the next job promotion or a new home or this years, dream vacation…we are relatively certain that if we work hard and play by the rules that we will achieve our plans.

I began life in Chicago, Illinois in a happy, ‘Leave It To Beaver,’ type existence.  My mother enjoyed dancing to, Chubby Checker’s, latest song, The Twist.  My dad would place me on his shoulders, when he arrived home from work…and I thought that I was the king of the world.  Little did I realize that in a short time, we would be moving to Eldorado, Illinois and we would be living in a ghost house that had a fireplace in each room…and a rat in the bathtub.  Soon mom and dad were divorced and mom did not have the twenty cents per day for me to enjoy a hot lunch at school.  I was the only person in class that brought my lunch.  As the years went by I decided that I was going to hope for something better and work toward that goal.

My good friend, Jeff, was a homeless orphan on the streets of Chicago.  When I met him he was part of a commune of hippies living in Elkville, Illinois.  Jeff had nothing and no one…but he had hope for a better life.  Jeff had come from a loving home, but economic reversals and emotional stresses had dissolved his childhood abode. Jeff, along with the other, Jewish hippies, began attending our little non-denominational church in Elkville.  I personally witnessed the strength of hope in Jeff’s life.  Jeff has been a successful businessman for many years and owns his own business in the United Kingdom.  It was my pleasure, in 2016, to attend one of his opportunity meetings…where he spoke to a room of 100 people who were hungry for the same hope that had transformed Jeff…nearly 50 years ago.  As I observed the attentive audience, as Jeff spoke to them, I saw my friend of 50 years…and marveled at the strength of hope!

We saw the great movie, The Invisible Man, recently.  Fighting an adversary that you cannot see…is scary.  It is vital that we follow all precautions that are suggested by our health experts.  It is essential that we do not yield to…magical thinking…or some of the untruths that are being promulgated by leaders who should no better.  But, it is essential and vital that we do not give over to panic.  Our world has suffered pandemics before…and there will be others after COVID19.

‘So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.’   President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The renown PBS star of many decades, Mr. Rodgers, told us what to do when we are facing a frightening time that is filled with both seen and unseen adversaries: ‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.’


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