It’s an interesting moment of development - on the threshold of adulthood with one foot firmly planted in childhood. She wrote a letter to Santa this year, as she has every year since she was three. In that first letter, she asked for a set of green sheets for her bed (because what three year old doesn’t love bed linens?) This year, she asked for the answer to climate change.
I think back to the season of her birth. It felt like a tumultuous time with Congress having voted to give President Bush the power to go to war in Iraq. I remember asking myself if it was such a good idea to be bringing a child into a world full of such strife.
Seventeen years later and our grasp on the world feels even more tenuous with the provocation of Iran by an administration lacking a moral compass, with the continent of Australia burning before our eyes and no answers in sight.
It is a scary world that we are bequeathing to our children.
How do I hold space for my anxiety about the state of the world and our future without spiraling into a place of despair?
The question reminds me of Rebecca Solnit’s entreaty to stay connected to hope because in giving up to despair we give away our power to those who would trample our world with their lust and greed. (Her book Hope in the Dark is a powerful read.)
So, what helps me to kindle that flame of hope?
It’s seeing more women and people of color being sworn in for city council in Boston - the leadership finally looks like the residents they represent.
It’s getting together with friends to knit and sew pouches and wraps for animal rescue efforts in Australia.
It’s the UU church I attend raising money for a local farm’s advertising budget after being hit hard by a lack of traffic due to long-term road closures.
I can have hope when I think of my daughter’s inquisitive and hopeful spirit, my fourteen year old’s determination and resilience and the love and compassion that pours out of my youngest.
Perhaps this is the recipe for our future: love and compassion, determination and resilience, hope and a prayer for peace.
May it be so.