Poet Emily Dickinson calls hope “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.”
When poets and mystics talk about soul and hope, I listen. More than most, they have the words to describe the yearning for a peace-filled beauty; they evoke a longing I understand.
Feathers and soul belong together.
They are of the air and light. They speak of liberation and ascension. They are in an upward motion; they rise when a warm current lifts them. They stir and dance, mirroring our finer selves.
Who can resist an invitation to hope?
Yet, despite their lightness, feathers fall to the ground. Now wet and dirty, they have lost their loveliness, their magnificence soiled. I don’t know what happens to the soul when humans fail and fall, but here is a guess: more misery, cruelty, and ignorance. When brutal forces and hate are victorious, our spirit falters. Sometimes, the bad guys win for a while.
Some say hope is a luxury to those who suffer greatly. A privilege even. I pray that hope, like clean air, clear water, and healthy soil, remains a collective good- not for sale.
Still, hope is resilient. It only takes a flicker of light, a bird song, and a warm meal to return hope, that undying urge to our weary hearts.
So, my friend, catch and give hope in 2024.