I have a friend, a teacher who offers his creative gifts and compassion to troubled young people and his artistic gifts to everyone whom he encounters. As far as I can tell, his favorite two words are "hope" and "jazz."
This morning, with the first of the holidays of this season almost upon us, I find myself thinking of hope and, in particular, hope for those of us who have lost children.
Perhaps we can recall the hope in which they were conceived, the hope which attended every moment we shared with them, whether those moments were many or few, the hope with which we sent them off to preschool or college or into marriage or parenthood, however far we were lucky enough to accompany them.
A couple of Sundays ago, I preached on the Pilgrims and on risk-taking for a community Thanksgiving service. Hope makes it possible for us to take tremendous risks, and we know more than most the great risk inherent in setting forth in the fragile boat of parenthood.
Perhaps tomorrow we might give thanks that we once harbored such expansive hope, that we flung it into the world, and that we shared some of the journey with those beloved passengers of ours.
Perhaps, if we are feeling particularly hope-challenged as we remember those not coming home through this year's challenging weather patterns, we might ask that our hope in others and in the future be restored.
Perhaps we might give thanks that we remain open to the quest for hope, even as it calls us to oceans on which we had no plans to sail.
May you be blessed by the recognition of hope in unexpected places and unexpected encounters this Thanksgiving holiday.