When I think of a portal, I imagine a magic door to pass through leading to new life beginning for a changed person. My example is the recent movie,”The Dallas Buyers Club,” the grimy gutsy tale of a Lone Star, bull riding, hard-living tough who emerges a super hero when faced with a death sentence. He never gave up hope and seized life for himself and others.
The poet Yusef Komunyakaa wrote about this miracle—when all seemed lost:
“I knew life
Began where I stood in the dark,
Looking out into the light.”
As we bungle our way through life, showing-up, perhaps making sense of our journey by looking back at what worked in the past, old tactics can become useless with changing circumstance, and inevitably, trying to do something, we fail or fall, and there seems no way to follow our dreams. The ancients say that should you fall down seven times, you must rise up again 8 times. Edison tried repeatedly to create a light bulb, finding 10,000 ways that didn’t work—until one did. Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never, never give up.” Hope.
Philosophers, poets, and common folks recognize this “tune without words” that sings the way in our darkest hour, this eternal flame, this Fiddler on the Roof as hope. And holding tight to our dreams, we are builders of eternity.
Light sparkles from a charismatic mind! Have you seen hope shining in the eyes of a wounded warrior determined to walk again; Have you laughed with the delight bubbling up in the giggles of a tickled child; do you cheer spirit when the winning horse, ablaze with desire, opens up in the stretch. Do you dance-on to the tune of life played by the “fiddler on the roof.” Can you hear that music?
Shell Silverstein says this about hope:
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.
Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.”
Look to the animals to image hope. The sniffer dog, hoping to please, uses his sense of smell 100,000 times more keen then the human nose, to sniff out weapons, drugs, even early stage cancer, his body quivering with the excitement that comes with partnering with his human god. The dog may sense danger, his job being to communicate that, even though he is himself in harms way. Some say it is because he does not understand, but I think it is because the dog is selfless in love, and filled with hope.
If we shed what weighs us down—regret, grief, fear, despair, or nostalgia, we make room for the angel of hope, as Emily Dickinson describes her:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all —”
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