False Promises vs. True Hope

I may be a rare person who pays (nearly) equal attention to the Oscars as I do the Super Bowl. As both a movie buff and a football fan, I enjoy seeing the best in their respective crafts. On the opposite end of lauding greatness, Wendy & I privately pan the writing of certain movies and TV shows which resort to rampant profanity, innuendo, and other offensive or sloppy use of language. For instance, I really dislike the cliche “Everything’s going to be all right,” parodied when Marge Simpson tries to reassure her kids that Homer will survive a doomed space shuttle mission. In the words of Lisa, “What are you basing that on, Mom?”

My example of precise word choice points to our serious yet hope-filled opportunity: JH is searching for a new home. (If you haven’t read my email from 2/11, we’ll forward it by request and invite you to join our email group list.) On the one hand, this is the end of JH as we know it. For 21 years, we’ve been based either in or within walking distance of the Edina Community Center, and now we need to relocate further from the hub of Edina Schools. On the other hand, “Great moments are born from great opportunity” (Herb Brooks, “Miracle,” 2004). His words to the U.S. Olympic Team 35 years ago didn’t guarantee victory, but they were based on the team’s hard work, study, and support. Similarly, any hope offered by Wendy or me (or by our myriad of supporters) regarding our successful move this May won’t guarantee victory; but we do have the history, structure, community support, divine grace, and collective will to bring us future successes, whether things look the same in a new setting or the company is re-invented, at least in part, as it has been many times since 1994.

So, I’ll resist the urge to offer the false hope as seen in so much misplaced cinematic optimism which dismisses reality and the pain of change. But I will say with one of my all-time favorite writers, the Apostle Paul, this true hope: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). We’ll hope for the best; plan for the “worst”; and mightily strive to usher in a new normal, perhaps even with expanded horizons.