I Need Hope: May 11, 2016
For the last few weeks I’ve found myself crying. A lot.
It pretty much didn’t matter what I was doing. The tears appeared.
So I made a decision. To go ahead and cry. To cry hard. To curl-up-on-the-couch-in-the-fetal-position kind of cry. To look-at-myself-in-the-mirror-and-watch-the-tears-appear kind of cry. To drive-in-the-car-and-play-sad-music kind of cry.
There was nothing in particular that precipitated all that sorrow. It just came…like the slow approaching chill of autumn, or the river waters rising after winter’s snow.
I talked to my family, my friends, my colleagues. “Am I going crazy?” “Am I depressed?” “Am I losing my grip on reality?” I have spent nearly as much time trying to determine the cause of my crying as I did…crying.
And finally, I figured it out. I have been mourning…mourning my loss of hope.
Hope for my nation. Hope for compassionate leadership. Hope for my children. Hope for my children’s children. Hope for the bullied. Hope for the poor, the suffering, the disenfranchised. Hope for the underserved, the disabled, the voiceless. Hope for our creatures, this land, the environment. Hope for wo/man/kind.
For someone like me who has literally made a living…heck a life…inspiring hope…losing it is like dying. Seriously, it’s like dying little tiny deaths every day.
Two years ago, I had reached a similar kind of despair. After working on Capitol Hill for two years on a project (the name of it was Run2Lead) designed to address our highly polarized nation, I had to pull the plug on it. “Whatever you do Molly,” one Congressional staffer shared with me. “Do NOT use the words peace or compassion here on the Hill. You’ll get written off right away. Those words don’t work here.”
She wasn’t kidding. I was written off.
I drove home cynical…a heart filled with despair and a tank low on hope.
After several weeks of wandering around my house, and acknowledging my frustration with the current state of my beloved America, I decided, rather than waiting for hope to come to me, I would go find it!
I rented a Mustang convertible and drove from Charlotte, NC to Las Vegas, NV and interviewed hundreds of Americans about what they believed was separating us from each other…in essence, what was stealing our hope. I wrote extensively about my conversations. I experienced more joy than I thought possible. I changed. I grew.
I came back overflowing with hope.
This week, after recognizing that I had lost hope again, I decided to revisit my writings. At the time I called them the Red Boot Ride Ramblings and The Essence of Red Boot.
And now that I’ve read through these materials, two years later and at another point of despair and inflection, I am again…filled with hope.
The Red Boot Ride Ramblings are my unedited journal entries from the ride.
I wrote the Essence of Red Boot about a month after the ride. The Essence of Red Boot incorporated all I heard and learned on the trip and describes, in detail, what it’s going to take to reunite America. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
So, let me just get to the point. If you are despairing about the current state of our nation…the Presidential election, the lack of leadership, the bullying, the violence, the anger and separation between us, please consider this copy of The Red Boot Ride Ramblings and the Essence of Red Boot as my gift and an offering of hope to you. The writings that follow are very close to their original form. I’ve made a few changes to accommodate the typesetting, but other than that, these were the words as they came through me at that time.
Read along and know that you are not alone. We are not alone. There are many more of us who yearn for a joyful, united, harmonious America than those who do not. It’s just hard to find each other sometimes.