Sunday, April 4, 2010

In Hope's Wake

My beautiful friend Barbara – whom I consider to be an Okie goddess ruling over innate wisdom, 360-degree perception and stealth-like courage and humor – told me she didn’t know if she could stand it if it wasn’t Easter. She had just returned from Haiti less than 12 hours earlier.

I knew immediately what she meant. It wasn’t about her at all – it was a statement about finding hope, and believing it might be able to pull this heavy, thrashing world in its wake.

When I look out the window today, I can’t imagine a more hopeful sign than the sight of a (and I’m guessing here) 60-year-old blooming redbud tree against that crazy-green wheat field. You can feel, hear and see the world vibrating back to life. A promise fulfilled.

I’m not talking about fleeting optimism here. I’m talking about hope that roots and rises, that sticks by us when the news is not so good and gathers us up when marching on is required. I’m talking Maya Angelou kind of hope that’s not afraid to rock your world. Deep, strong hope that expands you from the inside out.

I had the honor of lunching recently with Molly Biven, a very lovely British transplant to Oklahoma who has kept both her English civility (as evidenced when she reminded us that “talking about politics at lunch is quite a bore”) and accent intact. She and her husband have carved the most beautiful six-acres of gardens at the edge of the Tallgrass Prairie in northern Oklahoma. She told me they no longer cut their plants back before winter. They found they have better luck letting the old growth stay on, protecting the new plants through the cold, and then removing it in the spring when the buds can stand on their own.

Maybe real hope lies more in the used up overgrowth, sticking it out through the winter, preparing the way for its own replacement.

On this Easter day, may the deep current of hope pick you up and carry you gently in its wake.