A PIECE BY JASON RUSSELL
History books are written about the great boxing match between justice and impunity, but at the marrow of all existence is this gentle courageous hope. And this necessary, extreme, contrast of life runs throughout the greatest stories of all time.
My little life is no exception. But, the light can only seep through the cracks. Without despair, we would not recognize the Hope.
When I first heard my friend Jon sing, "The shadow proves the sunshine," my wife and I stayed up half the night talking about how we can’t see joy without sadness, how much better the sweet is mixed with the salty (Wendy'sfries dipped in a frosty? Come on.), or the dark without light.
We all know what wrong is when we see it. We all agree without even having to check in. The same is true of hope. When it fills the room, we all know it. And it is never where you think it’ll be.
Go ahead... look at the places deemed the "darkest" in the world, and I promise, you will also find the most light. In my travels through Uganda, at the height of conflict, I met a child named "Innocent" who was running for his life, loudly singing praises each night that he lived to see another day. A victim of violent physical and sexual abuse, named "Grace", who joyfully showed me how to start again.
And though there were so many more, with less ironic names, they taught me to keep expecting the best. To be ever-ready for the great surprises of life. To anticipate goodness, especially when you feel engulfed in ashes. Because, even if that feels like the end of the story, it is not. And, anyone who has left the peace and privilege of their upbringing, will attest to what they found there. Hope.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in all of us. And it sticks to your ribs like warm oatmeal. And, if you are earnest, I beg you to chase it.
The desire to get involved in making the world a better place is not a bad instinct, it's a necessary one. Though everyone around you will doubt your motives, keep your eyes fixed.
I found myself drawn at a young age to the edges of humanity: slavery, genocide, child soldiers. I ached to participate, and only now have I realized, it shouldn’t be a choice.
I hope we all keep choosing hope.