So I'm going to try a word for the year this year. A word to live with, to experience, and to color my days.
I have vivid memories of the spring of 2008 when I worked on the Obama campaign for the Pennsylvania primary. I loved working in that crowded, disorganized little office, surrounded by young people who were determined to be part of the change they hoped for. Our passwords for accessing the data base were all variations of "hopechange." We hoped and we believed and we worked and there was change.
I'd kind of lost sight of the power of hope.
There's a spirit of hope in my Near Philadelphia community right now. This is manifest in two ways.
Nearly a month ago a little girl was involved in a tragic accident and has been fighting for her life. But she's not alone. Beyond her parents and grandparents and brother, our little town and the towns nearby have joined the effort. Fund-raising, prayer, messages of encouragement have flooded the special Facebook site devoted to this child's situation. I live in a good place, but never before have I seen the community come together with such passion. Ally is our little girl, and our town is determined and filled with hope, with all kinds of people doing their bit to effect change for her.
Not quite two months ago, someone read a book and was filled with hope for our community. As I said, it has always been a good place to live, but this lady was determined to make it an especially good place to live. She spoke to some people from her church and then nearby churches and brought a group together to plan. Another Facebook page emerged as people began to share kindnesses they'd experienced and kindnesses they'd performed. People became inspired and went out of their way to be thoughtful, gracious, and kind to one another. Kids from the schools are getting involved. A group is forming at the library to study and discuss the book. People are being kinder, I think, because they believe kindness is contagious and that things can change; they are filled with hope.
I am fortunate to live where I do. I am fortunate to see the power of hope at work. I am very, very happy to be part of these efforts.
Hope. That is my word for 2016.