Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hope Without Outcome


Who was I kidding? I hung my ornament of hope on its fragile string and felt like I could bear it breaking. But I’ve been slipping down some rabbit hole of darkness this afternoon and figured out that it came from a lunchtime conversation about the election recount showing the numbers were correct. Guess last night's moon was just a moon after all and that "eye of heaven" business was just my wishful imagination. Looks like we're headed like lemmings to the cliff's edge and all the stop signs have been torn down. 

So I remembered a quote a friend posted on Facebook and it’s helping me get through this—for tonight, at least. Never for a moment have I doubted that I’ll continue doing everything in my power every minute of what life is left to help ease the burden of suffering and bring joy into the dark corners of the human heart—my own and others. But like everyone, I can occasionally wonder “Why bother?” Or creep close to the late great Mose Allison’s cynical (but realistic?) wisdom, “I don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause I know that nothin’s gonna be all right.” 

But let's face it. I want things to be right. I work with kids to help make these things right. I play music to help make the moment feel right. I write blogs and articles and books to try to articulate what right is and why it's right (hint: it has to do with health and happiness, with caring and community, with beauty and justice). I hope to keep on doing it and stop thinking so much about whether it's working. Of course, I want it to work, but I can't base my action on my fantasy of the outcome. So here’s the quote to ponder as I ride the roller coaster of hope and despair:

."Wherever individuals can be helped to make a transition from misery to beatitude, then such help is worthwhile in itself, whether civilization is headed for progress or catastrophe. The curing of psychological and spiritual ills makes a direct contribution to the building of a better world; but one does not have to believe that the advent of this better world is either possible or likely in order to justify such cures.
Assume for the moment that civilization is doomed. It is still possible for individuals to move against this sickness; it is possible to achieve integrity and serenity (though not without tragedy) in their own lives; it is possible for them to continue spreading health as rapidly and widely as circumstances permit. No one can predict whether the influences that make for stability, cooperation and sanity can spread powerfully enough to hold in check and overcome the influences that are making for destruction. But no man can ask to foresee the ultimate outcome of his work, especially as it affects future generations; one can do no more than work for the betterment of human life here and now, without guarantees concerning the outcome."   David E. Roberts

1 comment:

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