A word for the year

With my older sister Tina (left) and my younger sister Malinda (middle)

I just came away from a stretch of time together with my two sisters, who are important sources of inspiration and grounding for me. (I have nothing against brothers, I simply have none!) One of the threads of our conversations was the question: “What one word do you most need to embrace as you head into 2019?” I played with several words over the course of days, and finally landed upon “Hope.”

This year, I want to claim more deeply a mindset of Hope; Hope with a capital H. By this I do not mean hope as in “hopefully, . . .”, nor wishing for a particular thing or outcome — although I do have hopes of that sort. I mean the fundamental belief that things are heading in the direction of greater goodness. It sounds crazy, considering the dismal news these days and the generalized cloud of anxiety under which we seem to be living. But that’s exactly why Hope is so radical and essential — and why I choose to embrace it this year.

A mindset of Hope calls me to look for the coherence amidst the chaos and noise — to look for Dr. King’s long arc bending toward justice. I need Hope to turn dismay into curiosity: If God works for good in all things, what does that ‘goodness work’ look like right now and how can I become a part of it? When the losses are real and overwhelming, I need Hope to awaken all of my senses to look with confidence for signs of the Kingdom of God. Where are the mustard seeds? Where is the good soil?

This year, I claim Hope as my word. What is yours?

Rebecca Stoltzfus