“Hopelessness is not the opposite of hope. Fear is.”- Margaret Wheatley
The fall of 1961 was marked by turbulent times in the U.S. The entire nation was gripped with fear. President Kennedy was advising American families to build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. A year later, the world was on the brink of full-scale nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It was during this time that my parents found themselves having to make one of the toughest decisions of their lives. They were strongly considering having a second child but were afraid of bringing a child into the world, which seemed to be going crazy. They have told the story of how, with limited income, they literally came down to deciding between spending the money on building a bomb shelter or having a baby. Having to choose between fear and love, despair and hope. I am thankful they chose hope and love. The baby they ended up bringing into the unstable and chaotic world 54 years ago today….turned out to be me.
I think all of us who wrestle with the brokenness, beauty and mess of the world we live in, face the constant tension of giving into fear and hopelessness, or love and hope. Rebecca Solnit writes; “To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty are better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.”
So, if given the choice of whether to give in to fear or to give in to hope; give in to hope. You never know what you might give “birth” to.