I believe in the Shawshank Redemption. “I hope”. Not passively, but actively, “I hope.” Not “I cry” or “I despair” or “I hate”, but “I hope”. This belief in the Shawshank Redemption was formed when my youngest daughter ran away at age 16. She left with a boy who was two years older, had money, and a cocaine habit. It took four months to find her, still with him and safe on the other side of the country. Those four months were my Shawshank experience. During that time I worked like the best spy in the CIA—I called her friends, her friends’ parents, the police in every state she had been reported in, even the border at Detroit-Canada was called. In a bizarre coincidence, she ended up in the same small California town as my son’s friend. It took “I hope” to tell her that we would not bring her back; that we would rather know where she is than have them run again. She never has returned to her home, but she answers my calls, is glad to see me when I visit, and even traveled to a family wedding in another state. “I hope” was and is my credo.
My dad tells the story of how he and several friends bought the “40 dollar car” in the late ‘30s when they were teens–the car never left the backyard. After hearing this story many times, I realized that what kept them working on the old wreck was “I hope”.
“I hope” is all around me—in the refugees in Darfur, in the faces of our soldiers, in the debate over next year’s elections; it’s the ember that a priest sees in a sinner. Rising above injustice and unfairness, patience, dignity, perseverance is the essence of “I hope”. “I hope” — release from hate, relief from despair, deliverance of love is possible with “I hope.”
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