I once went searching for Hope in the middle of a Thai forest. It was well past midnight, Hope was “lost,” and we were worried. Hope was notorious for sneaking away; he was also young, mischievous and often covered in mud. Sometimes Hope was impossible to find.
I witnessed finding Hope once again this weekend. Somehow he emerges from the muddiest of pits, where the soil is so dark and thick one is sure there is no light of day.
This weekend a herd of us rallied around my sister—that brave, strong, dedicated, selfless woman—and her son. It has been a long year for her and her family, but this weekend was like coming upon Hope in the dead of night.
My parents somehow, in their dilapidated state, drove for three days from New Mexico to Spokane. My mother began—and finished (this, as many of you know, is the challenge for her) three craft projects for the weekend in two days. Hope in the end.
Thirty-some people (over half of them children under the age of 10!!) from around the country drove in, flew out, and walked with Jessica and Walter. Hope in camaraderie.
Cousins met cousins. Hope in family.
Grandparents met grandbabies. Hope in future generations.
Cookies were shared. Hope in sustenance.
Serious dolla dolla bills were raised. I began with a meager goal of raising $300 for the CF walk, but ended up with $1055. On Wednesday before the walk, a friend at the gym approached me with an envelope. “Did you make your goal?” he asked, “because I brought you $25 if you didn’t.” Hope in the form of a gym rat.
There are nights in all of our lives that are dark and endless. Nights where the walls close in around us and we feel so lonely we could cry. Often we do. What is amazing to me, however, is when we reach out from that dark place, when we ask of our friends and family to prop us up with their quiches and cookies, company and children; when money swaps hands for good causes and when people rally around a loved one with so much joy and love that it feels like finally, they are floating–that is Hope.
And yes, Hope is feisty. Of course he disappears. He’s got tusks to reckon with. It is our job, however, to don our headlamps and trek through the forest to find him. And when we do, we can believe once more in tomorrow.
Perhaps the greatest Hope of all is the smile amidst adversity–Walter has this trait down, And sings the tune without the words -And never stops – at all –
A million thanks to all the donors who supported this worthy cause. I know there are many, many places to lay down your Franklins, and I am so grateful that you chose ours.