As featured in The Reflector:
Last week I spoke at an activity for a bunch of women at our church. The theme involved being a light in the darkness, essentially being figures of hope.
Hope has been on my mind a lot lately. I shared with them a conversation I’d had with my little sister. She and I had been talking a lot about the moral and political state of our country and were feeling quite forlorn over it. We worried for our children and the battles they would have to face because of it.
Then we talked about how we believed in something better. We discussed how we believed in the human race and how we knew goodness and morality were still there. We ended up feeling a little perplexed about the fact that the voices representative of that morality and goodness, including our own voices, are strangely silent in comparison to the opposition.
I possess a lot of hope. Even when things seem irreparable or hopeless I’m still capable of feeling it. A significant portion of my hope rests in God, but I’m also inspired by my confidence in others. I’m confident that there are good people in the world. I’m confident that those people don’t have to be forced into kindness and caring. I’m confident that there are people who still possess the capacity to be moral compasses to those around them. I’m optimistic that people can still differentiate between right and wrong. I’m optimistic that when given the opportunity, those people will choose all that is good and right and moral.
So if I’m confident that these people exist, if I’m hopeful in the goodness that still remains in this world, then why aren’t I hearing more of it? Why aren’t I sharing more of it?
I told my sister that sometimes my silence stems from the fact that I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I don’t want people to find my stance offensive or rude. I don’t want anyone to feel like I might be trying to force my religion or my opinions on them.
But guess what? With hope comes responsibility. I strongly feel that the two are inseparable. If we feel hope and confidence in humanity, then we should be spreading that hope. If we feel optimism in regards to the morality of our nation, then we should be encouraging and sharing that hope out loud. If we find hope in the God of us all, then we should be sharing it. It’s our responsibility.
It’s amazing to me how tolerant we are of the voices of dissent and immorality and irresponsibility. No one questions their right to voice their opinion. They’re screaming loudly and everyone is listening.
Yet those with a message of goodness and hope are comparatively silent. We feel our hope inwardly. We share it with our inner circles. And even when our morality is yelling at our souls, that what we’re hearing is not right, we sit silently at the risk of offending the supposed majority. And the supposed majority engages in fighting our right to share our beliefs and our hope, in the way that they so freely share theirs.
You know, I was amazed as I spoke to these women. There were about fifty of them and they weren’t from the congregation that I attend, but from a neighboring one. So some of them I knew and some of them I didn’t. But what amazed me was that as I looked around, I could see the hope in the eyes of every single one. And if there’s that much hope right here in the middle of nowhere, I have to believe that there’s that much hope everywhere else too.
The hopeful need to start talking more loudly than they are. I told my sister that I feel almost guilty that I’ve been so reserved and quiet on the source and subject of my hope. If immorality can spread like wildfire, morality can too. If irresponsibility can be made to look good, then responsibility can be made to look as good as it once did. Honesty, integrity, loyalty, hard work . . . all of them can make a comeback. I believe that. I believe there is still good in the world.
I’m a mother. I have children. Four of them. There are four, lovely, little people living in my home. I want them to grow up feeling hopeful. I want them to recognize what’s right when they see it. I want them to embrace morality and goodness and kindness. And I want them to be strong enough to share what they’ve acquired with the rest of the world.
If I want those things for my children then I have to 'be' those things for my children. Children are what they hear and do what they see. They have to hear my voice in chorus with the rest. They have to see me defend all that is right. So my silence is ending today.