Spring brings signs of hope
It isn’t any one thing that brings the hope of spring. It is the mounting signs that creep in as winter fades. The earlier rising of the sun, the increased chirping of the morning birds and the mellowing of the cold winds are but a few of the clues that signal the start of a welcomed season.
While driving home at twilight a few days ago, I found myself singing the words of an old Christian hymn. It goes something like this: ‘Oh, the darkness shall turn to the morning and the morning to noon-day bright, and God’s great kingdom shall come on earth. The kingdom of love and light.’ I had had a delightful dinner with my daughter, evening was beginning to settle over the Southern Indiana hills and I felt hopeful and eager for tomorrow.
We are just pulling out of a cold and cantankerous winter. It is not just the weather that’s been unsettling, but the political and social climate also has been harsh and unpleasant. It is time for a change in the atmosphere of our everyday lives.
I have recently been exploring the possibility of producing a television program to tell the story of a miracle happening in Kenya, Africa. The project started as a well planned out medical center spearheaded by doctors from the United States. It has grown into a multi-faceted service provider that joins residents from Indiana with those in Kenya to improve the lives of all. Ampath is the name often given to the overall program that encompasses such things as services in the form of medical care and training, legal aid, chaplain education, self-sufficiency education and the empowerment of women. For 30 years, it has enriched the lives of both Hoosiers and Kenyans.
I asked Dr. Jim Lemons, who founded the Riley Mother Baby hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, why it has been so successful. He responded immediately that, from the beginning, those who have been involved have ‘led from a position of love and caring.’ Notice he did not say they were seeking wealth, power, fame or comfort. They led from a position of love and caring.
Dr. Lemons acknowledged there had been bumps in the road but reminded us that, way back in the 13th century, the poet Rumi wrote, ‘The wound is the place where the light enters you.’ It often takes a disruption in our lives to force us out of our comfort zones. Improvements mean change, and no one takes to change easily. Change takes time and energy and gives uncertainty. Often, we accept change only as a last resort. Even the sweet change from winter into spring brings new experiences and questions that challenge us.
I was deeply troubled by a tweet issued by our president after the second disaster of a Bowing 737 airplane. He led with fear by these words: ‘airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly’ ‘always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simple is far better.’ This kind of talk will scare the socks off of you next time you contemplate a trip.
In my opinion, these are reckless, harmful words when spoken by anyone, let alone our top leader. This declaration plays on the natural fear we all have of change and things we don’t understand. Better to have our leaders give a caring and considerate reassurance that there were, indeed, troubling issues to be examined and that all studies and investigations possible would be taken to find and correct the problems. These recent crashes were unacceptable tragedies amidst the 87,000 safe fights a day. We look to our leaders to tell us the truth and encourage us to think, speak and act on a positive course into a changing future.
The early pre-2020 election cycle has already started. I was, as you might be, really tired of all the campaign chatter and activity after the mid-term elections. Just give me a few months of emails free of urgent pleas for donations and candidate banter, I thought. However, recently listening to the television town hall meetings and reading political analysts from around the globe, I have decided the issues that challenge us and the opportunities to advance to a better realignment of values and actions are so huge that I should get into the discussion now.
We have a wide range in the thinking and philosophies of the candidates lining up for consideration in the 2020 election. It is important to watch how they approach problems, how they react to criticism and challenges, how they articulate their world view, how they explain and discuss issues with the public. What are their attitudes toward our governmental and private system of operation and how do they interact with other people?
Attention to others’ reactions and actions makes me evaluate how I perform in situations similar but on a smaller scale in my own life. What impressions do I give when I comment on conditions that surround us? Do I stay in the darkness of the hour and complain and blame others and forces beyond my control? Or, do I feel confident and empowered to forge ahead in a positive way? Do I grump about the cold so much I fail to feel the subtle sweet changes that come with early spring?