“One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one.”
I wrote last week about how I was finding hope hard to reach, and admittedly I'm not feeling that much better about it today. It's been a little over two years of what feels like a constant barrage of badness, and while I want to wish for tomorrow's news to be brighter, I'm not sure I'll be surprised if it isn't. Things are hard. Even if the election goes the way I hope it does, there’s a significant chance the validity will be challenged, or that stonewalling will keep it from making a big difference. That’s a huge cultural problem and not one that an election can drive away. It’s going to take more work than that. But it’s been more than two years now, and we’re all tired, so tired. The trouble keeps coming. We keep trying to stay on our feet. It’s understandable, I think, to want to rest. And yet.
Last week, we carved the pumpkin we'd gotten for R into a smiling jack-o-lantern. I prepared it during nap time, pulling out the seeds and the stringy insides and cleaning it up, so that when Graham got home we could use our precious few hours before bedtime to do the carving itself as a family. It was fun, but when we turned off the lights and lit the candle inside, and the face glowed out into the darkness, R's face glowed back at it. She was utterly awestruck. She believed we were magic, and her belief was so strong that for a moment, we felt like we were.
She trusts us so completely. Trusts us to know when she's safe and to keep her from harm; trusts us to feed her and clothe her and house her in all the ways she needs. I know that every day that faith in us will grow a little bit less as her faith in herself grows a little bit more, and that knowledge is butting up against my feelings about the world in ways that are sometimes hard to handle.
But I’ve also been trying to remember this: sometimes, our hope is something we feel, something that inspires and moves us. But like motivation or inspiration, hope as a feeling can’t always hold us up. Sometimes, for hope to stay alive, we have to make it an action. We have to do hope. What I want from you, today, is to think about what you need to see from those around you to help you feel more hopeful, and then, instead of looking for it, do it. Do the thing you need to see.
And, by the way, if it applies: please vote. Even if you’re not sure it’s going to work, even if you’re not sure it’s worthwhile, even if you’re not sure whether the system is going to hold up under the barrage. We don’t have to be sure, right now. We have to do it anyway. Do the thing you need to see.
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