I struggle with hope because I am a worrier. I worry about everything. When I was in middle school there was a day that my parents had a mix up about who was going to pick me up at school. One of them finally arrived an hour late. I had spent the last forty-five minutes of that hour imagining that my parent’s had died in a terrible car crash. That’s why no one was there to pick me up. I was going to go live with my Uncle Stephen, at least that’s who I think I was suppose to go to, I wasn’t sure. My brother and I would have to move to Wilmington. I’d start at a new school. What if my brother was in the car too? It’d just be me and my uncle. At least he lived at the beach. I’d learn to surf.
I worry most about the future–not my own personal future, the big time where is humankind headed future. I worry about politics. I worry about civil society. I worry about public discourse. I worry that the systems are broken. I worry that the institutions are rotten. I worry that whatever I do will be futile to change the world for the better. I worry that evil is winning.
And yet, I hope. I hope because I have the privilege of taking part in a community of scholars and students. I hope because of the students I taught last year, the questions they asked and the energy they put into understanding the material. I hope because of the colleagues I have who are dedicated to academic work that really matters. I hope because of their books and articles that make me marvel at their incisive analysis. I hope because of the bloggers who speak truth and decency. I hope because I hear other voices shouting answers to the worries I feel. I hope because there are places I look and see good triumphing over evil.
I hope because hope is the answer to worry. Hope refuses to give in to worry, fear, and, anxiety. Hope dispels fear, melts anxiety, and calms worry. I hope because to not hope would be to give up. So, I hope that my work amounts to something. I hope that my teaching impacts someone. I hope that my writing touches an audience. I hope that cooler heads prevail. I hope that wisdom is heard. I hope that institutions reform, minds expand, hearts grow, and good triumphs. I hope because in hope we can find strength for action.
Passing the Baton
I’ve run my leg of this relay, now it’s time to hand it off to….
Ta-Nehisi Coates- I figured I’d at least ask him if he’d do it.
Kelly J. Baker– She usually writes about hate but now we’ll see if she’ll write about hope.
Jermaine McDonald- My favorite ethicist and a source for all things civil religion.
James McCarty III- My other favorite ethicist.
Take it away folks!