A Spy For Hope


My eye twitch is back. This usually happens when I’m worried and not sleeping. My eye twitching for weeks at a time is a bat signal from my insides to my outsides that all is not well with my soul.

(Also, I’d stopped wearing my glasses because I was convinced that I looked like Grouch Marx, what with my nose and all. So, I was squinting a lot.)

I woke up two nights in a row worried about DACA being rescinded. I tossed and turned, fretting about who we are as a nation. I just kept thinking about the young people who trusted the government enough to turn over all of their information and go through all the right channels, only to learn that they aren’t protected after all. I couldn’t stop thinking about how betrayed they must feel.

Almost every single day, I find myself baffled by what our president says or does. It’s exhausting. I feel like I’ve had a low grade fever since Trump won the election. Big events, though, cause my fever to spike. This leaves me feeling disoriented and wiped-out.

I need to pace myself a little better. I’m tired of my days being dictated by what this megalomaniac of a president says and does. I know that I need to be an informed citizen, but I also resist the idea of giving him more power than he already has.

So, while I keep one eye on my responsibilities as a citizen, I also want to keep an eye on some things that are good. (This looking in two different directions will definitely not cure my eye twitch!) One of my friend’s sons used to hug her hard and say, “Mama, what’s good?” I think he actually pronounced it WUZ GOOOD?? She could always find something good. It’s a question that redirects us.

Katherine Paterson, the award winning author, once said, “I want to be a spy for hope.” I love this idea so very much. I want to be a spy for hope, too. I want to search for clues and sightings of hope. I want to look for what’s good.

I was thinking about this when I was trying to figure out something- anything -that I could do to be helpful this past week in the midst of the DACA announcement and the hurricanes swirling. I don’t have a lot of power or influence; I spend most of my time taking care of my family and I get discouraged easily.

But, I have really good blood. Like, the actual blood in my veins is the kind that they can give to every human being. My blood type (O negative) is rare, but it’s what they carry in ambulances and on medical helicopters for trauma and accident victims. It can also be given to brand new babies.

So, I took my twitchy, anxious, wrung-out self to the blood donation center this week. While I was donating, the technician told me that there is a severe blood shortage in Georgia; in part because they usually get a lot of blood from Texas, which was hit by the hurricane. It felt really good to do something helpful and not just be distressed. I spied, with my twitchy eyes, some hope.

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  • I think the greatest challenge is finding good and hope while in the MIDDLE of a hurricane swirl of negativity. It’s rarely all completely good or all completely bad. It’s just that it takes incredible discipline and practice to keep our twitchy eyes on that thread of hope (silver lining? Too trite?) that is swirling within that battering of discouragement. Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” is a wonderful guide to practicing that perspective.

  • Anna–Let me comment on your sentence that you “resist giving him (Trump) more power than he already has.” Many of us conservatives have been saying for years that we don’t like the idea of giving the government more power because you never know who might be in a position to wield it. It’s certainly dangerous to give the federal government power, because one citizen has very little influence over those who govern us. I would rather give power to state government–I have at least seen my state representative in the grocery store and have been able to talk to her about issues. Even better would be giving power to local government, in which I would have an even stronger say. Even better would be giving power to individual citizens rather than giving it to any governmental body, all of which are subject to corruption. In my humble opinion, liberals need to re-think the strategy of vesting enormous power in the federal government and then hoping that someone to their liking will exercise that power. It might not be somebody to your liking–it might be Donald Trump or someone even worse. We conservatives believe that power, in the words of the 10th amendment to the constitution, should be reserved to “the States, or to the people.”

    • Thanks, Charlie for your thoughtful response. I agree that it’s an awful lot of trust to put in one person and I’m grateful to see so much renewed interest in our local political process. I know that I’ve learned a lot since January about how to be a better citizen. Thanks for being in touch.