“So I have learned not to fear the death of hope. In order for me to stay in this work, hope must die…I don’t really want to recount all the ways that hope has let me down; it’s so damn painful. But all of this comes with living, with struggling, with believing in the possibility of change. The death of hope gives way to sadness that heals, to anger that inspires, to a wisdom that empowers me the next time…” ~ Austin Channing Brown, I am still here
The earth quaked, the sky darkened…”eloi, eloi, lema sabachthani” and none of it made sense anymore…the end?! Or a beginning?!
How do you wait in the darkness?
Wood hath hope
“Wood hath hope.
When it’s cut, it grows green again,
and its boughs sprout clean again.
Wood hath hope.
Root and stock, although old and withered up,
and all sunk in earth corrupt, will revive. … Wood hath hope.”
Where is hope sprouting for you?
The Cellist of Sarajevo
On May 27, 1992 a mortar killed 22 people waiting in front of a bakery in Sarajevo. Vedran Smailovic, the cellist of Sarajevo responded to the trauma by playing cello in public spaces for two years. When a reporter asked him, “Aren’t you crazy to be playing cello during the shelling?” Smailovic replied, “You ask me am I crazy for playing cello, why don’t you ask them if they are crazy to be shelling?”
What questions need to be turned around?
“Death is part of a much greater and much deeper event, the fullness of which we cannot comprehend, but of which we know that it is a life-bringing event. . . . What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning; what seemed to be a cause for fear proved to be a cause for courage; what seemed to be defeat proved to be victory; and what seemed to be the basis for despair proved to be the basis for hope. Suddenly a wall becomes a gate, and although we are not able to say with much clarity or precision what lies beyond the gate, the tone of all that we do and say on our way to the gate changes drastically.” Henri Nouwen
How does the gate change our perception of death?
“Grief work is soul work. It requires courage to face the world as it is and not turn away, to not burrow into a hole of comfort and anesthetization. Grief deepens our connection with soul, taking us into territories of vulnerability, exposing the truth of our need for others in times of loss and suffering.” Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow