My name is Hope
Whose arms have always remained open
Since the beginning of time
To embrace the throngs of seekers,
And those who followed a vision for life
Like the ones who crossed mountains of glaciers
Where the sedges survive and thrive
And the white ice
Offering a place
For children to grow
And later the ones who came by boat
The dreamers who landed on my shores
For something they called freedom
Of heart, mind, body and spirit
In a time
Where their dreams had become nightmares
But my open arms reached out to them
And they called me by name
The spirit of freedom
To follow a vision
For the love of life
In honor of our country’s birthday, we want to recognize and honor her story. As a motherland, she has given refuge to untold millions. As a teacher, she has reminded us of our obligation to care for our resources. As a friend, she continually offers grace. As a Lady of Liberty, she is a beacon of light and a priestess reminding us of the sacredness of life. As one well- acquainted with grief and loss, she still reaches out with hope.
Hope. Emily Dickinson described hope as, “the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops singing at all.”
I have always appreciated this imagery of hope. Not to be compared to a perennial optimist, I believe hope is that spirit … of belief … of love … for life.
In honor of Independence Day, and hope as an inspiration for life, even in what appears as dire circumstances, I wanted to share a story, from the movie, Lady in the Water, by M. Night Shyamalan. It is a story of success, loss, grief and hope realized. For me, I can see themes of the story be easily generalized to larger circumstances.
His name, was Uriah Heap. For many years, he practiced medicine as a doctor, and had a wife and two children. But one night, while he was away, an intruder broke into his home and killed his wife and children.
Grief stricken, he left his medical practice. The trauma of his loss changed his life, leaving him with a speech impediment of severe stuttering. And in his pain, he tries to move on, putting one foot in front of the other, still bearing the loss of his beloved family.
Finding a job as a manager for an apartment complex, the position offered less stress, the opportunity to be of help to residents, and develop neighborly interactions. It also allowed him the chance to keep his grief, by pouring out his heart, on the pages of a journal, writing about his loss, his pain, and how much he missed his beloved family.
Grief is an unwelcome stranger in life. It shows up unannounced, without consideration or respect. It makes no apologies for the intrusion. It tears the soul and rips the heart. It does not cooperate with any time limit. And those who grieve can often feel they are left to stand alone, holding hurt and tears as the only caring companions, in a culture that tends to closet loss, and consequently, expects those who are grieving to do so privately and quickly.
But for Uriah Heep, he would not be left alone, bearing his grief. A mysterious being, from another dimension, would arrive on the scene – a creature of hope and healing.
It happened one night, when Uriah or Mr. Heep for short, was making his way back to his apartment after making the final rounds of the complex. Passing by the pool area, which was closed for the night, he heard what he thought, was someone swimming in the pool. He turned to see who might be swimming after hours, but seeing no one, dismissed what he thought he heard as … nothing.
But as he started back toward his apartment, once again he heard the sound of someone swimming in the pool. Thinking the swimmer to be underwater, he walked over to the pool, and began to call to whoever might be there. Suddenly, the water of the pool started to get turbulent. Mr. Heep shouted to whoever was in the pool, to come out, but to no avail. Finally, he jumped into the water, in an effort to seize the trespasser. What he saw, was a lady in the water, but no lady like he had ever seen before. Naked, exhausted and afraid, she was rescued by Mr. Heep. He wrapped her in his jacket and carried her to his apartment, to help her recover.
Eventually, Mr. Heep finds out the young woman’s name is Story, and she is a Narf, from the Blue World. Destined to become a great leader, the Tartutic, or peacekeepers of the Blue World, have forbidden any attacks on Story as she makes her way back home. But the enemy, called the Scrunt, is determined to do anything possible to prevent Story from returning to the Blue World.
In the coming days, Story remains inside Mr. Heep’s apartment while he goes about his job. On returning home one day, he noticed Story was sitting on the couch holding a diary … his diary She looks up at Mr. Heep and tells him that she has read the diary of the terrible deaths that took his wife and children, at the hands of intruders several years ago, while he was away.
And for the first time, since the tragic loss, Mr. Heep, pours out his grief, to Story. And she listened with compassion to the heartbreak of the irreplaceable loss of his beloved family.
But being away from the Blue World, and the water, Story’s own grief compromised her own purpose. In order to return safely to the Blue World and fulfill her destiny, she needed support and help, to gain her strength so she could fulfill her destiny.
In wanting to help Story, Mr. Heep begins talking with people he knows at the apartment complex. In particular, he speaks with a tenant, Mrs. Choi, who knows the legend and meaning of Narfs, the Blue World, the Tartutic and the Scrunts.
In order for Story to recover from her wounds and return safely, she will need assistance from several helpers; a Guardian, a Symbolist, a Guild, and a Healer.
Identifying the helpers, is a process, and as they are identified, we see the unique gifts of each. With helpers fulfilling their role, Story is able to both recover and return home, to fulfill her destiny as a great leader, having narrowly escaped the Scrunts, as well as one apartment resident who turned out to be a traitor.
The story of our lives, is one of the most valuable resources to help bring understanding to its trajectory. A weaving of threads – of our past particularly, is valuable to our present and provides insight for the vision our future. And in weaving the threads of time, we have the opportunity to honor the past, bring healing to both the present and the future, with a sense of renewal, peace and stability.
In honor of Independence Day, may we remember the current turmoil our country is experiencing. We grieve deeply for the wounds she has experienced at the hands of those who would seek to undermine her destiny as a beacon of hope. May those who believe in her, offer assistance to her as helpers. Whether Guardian, Symbolist, Guild or Healer, may we honor our country’s destiny as holding forth a beacon of light of hope, for freedom; in our past, present and future.
May we remember the words written on the Statue of Liberty:
“Liberty Enlightening the World”
who faithfully welcomes every citizen
with the spirit of freedom and….Hope.
In honor of our country’s 244th birthday.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are those belonging to Paulette Jackson lpc-mhsp and do not necessarily reflect those of any other individual or professional.
photo credit: RicardMN