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Hope, signs of it, abound all around us

Chaplain (Col.) Robert Cannon, 60th Air Mobility Wing Chaplain

Chaplain (Col.) Robert Cannon, 60th Air Mobility Wing Chaplain

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Rummaging through a pile of unread books in my office one day, years ago, I came across a little volume by the author Michael Downey titled, "Hope Begins Where Hope Begins." Intrigued by the title, I found myself drawn in a personal reflection of which I have had countless times over the years, meditating on the power and importance of living life rooted and colored by hope.
 
People whose lives are filled with hope view the world differently. These incredible human beings not only confront the ups and downs of life with zest and zeal, they gently and powerfully remind those around them of new possibilities that lie ahead. They are the inspirational men and women across human history that faced the turbulent issues of their day fearlessly and with brash gumption because they were "hope full."

I've always loved President Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was a bit of a character. He had ceaseless energy for everything that was important to him. He had an incredible outlook on living life to the fullest. "Believe you can and you're halfway there," reflects his larger than life optimism. Hope is a powerful wellspring that feeds resiliency, courage, sacrifice and dreams. It refreshes the weary heart.

So where does one find this thing called "hope?" For each person, the answer is different and unique. For many people of faith, their hope is replenished symbolically in spring, a season marked by major rites and religious celebrations of historical events, e.g., Jewish Passover and Christian Easter. Some people are rejuvenated during springtime by the natural beauty erupting everywhere around them and rightly so. Nature powerfully engenders hope with beautiful displays of flowers and whiffs of rich fragrances wafting in the air. Hope does spring eternal.

Where does the hope begin? Many people are sustained in hope by the love and support of those nearest and dearest to them, family members, friends, and through the example of people both past and present. One of the most hopeful people in my life was my mother. During World War II, as a teenager, she was stuffed into a boxcar with her parents, brother and a few precious personal belongings and shipped to Siberia. As a little boy I listened to her stories of being in a Russian concentration camp, eating grass to fill her stomach, sneaking out at night under the barbed wire to harvest cabbage leaves in a nearby field to make a watery simple soup, and suffering the death of her father. I understood how hope sustained her.

The well-known psychologist Carl Jung encouraged people to dig deep to discover the source of hope in their lives. He said, "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

Take time to look for the signs of hope bursting around you. Rediscover the powerful memories of hope hidden deep in your heart, because hope begins where hope begins.