The Common Good

Hope must trump fear in tragic times

Date: April 20, 2013

Several years ago I was sitting in a back pew of a church on the edge of Emory University's campus. Jim Wallis, founder and editor of the Sojourners magazine and community, was taking questions after his lecture.

He announced what would be the last question and a young woman stepped up to the microphone and asked, "How do you not fall into deep cynicism when you see all that's happening around you in the world?"

At the time, and at times, sometimes I wonder the same. What is going to keep us from living in those dark, cynical places that tell us there is no point to love, there is no point to trying because it all ends in despair.

I'll never forget Wallis' answer: You have to choose hope.

I have to stop here for a second. I know how Pollyanna, how glass-half-full, how insulting and demeaning it can sound when someone tritely responds to your shattered world, "You have to have hope."

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