The Answer Is Hope

20 Jan



I read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon recently, a sweet children’s book with exquisite pictures and poignant, adult messages. At one point, the lead’s father is distressed that she (Minli) has left home without warning. He says to Minli’s mother:

Do you remember the story I told you about the paper of happiness? And the secret, which was one word written over and over again? I have thought a long time about what that word could have been. Was it wisdom or honor? Love or truth?

For a long time I liked to think that word was kindness. But now I think perhaps the word was faith.

At another point in the story, there’s a magical paper that rulers have used throughout the centuries to seek advice and find their way forward. Each time the rulers seek truth, the words on the paper are different. The advice changes according to the times.

I think the two are related. That the one-word secret to happiness does change according to our circumstances.

At some point in my life my one-word answer to happiness was perhaps gratitude or grace.

Now the word is hope.

The world feels so hopeless, especially today, on this dark, dark day. The heavens have been weeping, flooding the streets with their tears. It feels lost. It feels like heartbreak.

But the answer, right now, for me, for most of us, maybe, is hope.

I asked my friends and family today to share what they have hope for in 2017, what brings them hope right now.  I spent the day off social media, instead reading text messages from individuals smarter and kinder and calmer than I. The answers were diverse and remarkable, as diverse and remarkable as the people giving them.

I have hope for the creative community. There’s enough fuel for some truly incredible art.

I’m sending out my book

I’m taking a women’s studies class

I’m going to have a new grandbaby!! 🙂

I get to see Alaska

I think this will be the year my children become best friends. My goal is to help foster that relationship.

I’m buying a piano

2016 went so wrong that it snapped so many of us out of our apathy. When the unthinkable became reality I know I realized I can’t just sit back and assume people aren’t self-destructing…it was a big wake up call for an apathetic quiet group who didn’t realize their voices matter and they can make a difference in their spheres.

I get to run a book club at the library and choose diverse stories about diverse people

In 2017 I will be done with school forever!

I’m in a healthy relationship

My parents are coming out to visit

I hope for peace. I hope that my voice and views will be reflected by my elected officials in Washington.

I take courage in the fact that amongst the greats, bullying and evil will always look small

I have people that I have to have hope for. They rely on me. I’m so grateful to be needed. We are all needed.

I have hope because my outrage has been channeled into a firm, resolute belief that this cannot, this is not, this will not be seen as okay or normal or acceptable. I have talked to my 5 and 3 year old about racism, sexism, and bullying. I have realized that when we start to have these big conversations at an early age they will never be fooled into thinking any of these behaviors are okay. I have felt more compelled to address those around me engaging in these behaviors. This has led to some really important conversations.

I’m moving into an apartment with an oven

I am planning for a new baby this year

I can’t wait to watch my partner grow into their new job

I’m excited about the revival of Sunset Boulevard on Broadway

I feel hope because I know I’m capable of doing things I don’t want to do


There’s so much to hope for, big and small in our lives. Hope for this country, hope for our loved ones and ourselves and the world.

There is much to hope for.

And tomorrow we march.


I would love to hear what makes you hopeful for 2017 in the comments or in an email. 

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3 Responses to “The Answer Is Hope”

  1. steph January 21, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    I discovered I was pregnant just shy of my 40th birthday and the birth of my partner’s second grandchild. I was so nervous at first, but what a blessing this will be!

    • jillianlorraine January 21, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

      Congratulations!! What a wonderful reason to hope.

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