Some days, the fear and hate with which we treat each other makes me want to crawl into a corner and say, “I give up.” But then, I see my beautiful children playing, or laughing, or sleeping. I think of their empathy and compassion and creativity. And I tell myself: They are the future. And I will have hope that the children of the future will be kinder and wiser than we. And hope is a very powerful thing.
I think of the courage and perseverance of a young man who spent Christmas with my family and who is applying for college this week, who was orphaned as a baby and fled through five countries in search of a safe home. I think of the power of his dreams. And you know what? My daughter’s laughter and that young man’s dreams that survived so much darkness and pain — those things are louder than any fear in the world. And always will be.
I think of my youngest daughter painting with her toes, making the most gorgeous art during the years when her blindness was worse. I remember her giggling at nurses days after we were cautioned that she had an uncertain future. I remember the way many suburban moms shunned her the first time we took her trick-or-treating, but I also remember the first time she stood, when we were told she never would. Her determination is stronger and worthier of my attention than any hate in the world. And always will be. Hate may burn a village or a thousand, yet it is the most brittle thing there is.
Every moment we give to fear is a moment we could be living in faith. Every moment we recoil from the hate and violence in the world and allow it to slow us, is a moment we could have spent hoping and acting and telling stories that warm hearts and feeding hungry people and inviting refugees over for Christmas. Fear can go hide in its own corner. Let’s make the future, tirelessly, and let’s hope against hope that our children prove kinder and wiser than we.