“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
In the midst of this pandemic, we find ourselves struggling with the present – while fearful of what the future portends. We know that we are just at the beginning of a whole new journey.
This week a special friend introduced me to the work of Chad Hellman Ph.D., the Director of the Hope Research Center at the University Oklahoma. A lover of Dr. Seuss, Dr. Hellman writes:
“Hope may be the single best predictor of well-being, compared to any other measure of trauma recovery… In this important time in our nation, more than ever before we need to understand hope. We need to find ways to nurture hope in our community.”
I often say that Covenant House is in the business of healing and hope. We work 24/7 to help our young people to recover from the physical and emotional years of abuse, violence, and trauma. We also work hard to instill hope in every one of our (220) youth and children.
This afternoon, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Christina, who happened to be celebrating her 18th birthday. She had the biggest smile on her face. I asked:
“Where does your joy-filled, hope-filled spirit come from, Christina? I want to bottle it, and give it away!”
Growing up in dire poverty, the family’s electricity was often cut off. Her mother, due to her extreme alcoholism, couldn’t hold down a job long enough to keep the bills paid. Christina responded:
“I have no idea, Mr. Jim. I am just blessed, I guess.”
In these faith-testing times, if a child of poverty, homeless, with absolutely nothing to her name can choose to be a beacon of hope, how could I fail to make the same choice?
And so I pray. Then I pray some more. And I pledge to be a bearer of joy-filled hope – in the everyday, to the strangers among us (the cashier at the grocery store… the UPS delivery man… the corner pharmacist), and also to my colleagues, my friends, my family, and of course, to our beautiful young people.
Praying for peace and hope,