Hope: the practice of beginning history


I experienced this photo just after the shootings of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and the Dallas police officers.
The change in light caused me to glance up from my work. I found that I was immediately filled with a level of hope that something was shifting,
that now, more than ever, our awareness has been raised and we can find a way to move toward an inclusive and interrelated society
based on love and compassion.
–Laurie Kigner



A broken wing but not a broken spirit as this beautiful exotic butterfly still flies with abandon despite his limitations.
–Gail Diez


A broken wing but not a broken spirit as this beautiful exotic butterfly still flies with abandon despite his limitations.–Gail Diez

This reminds me of the beauty which still exists in the midst of tragedy that seems to be so prevalent in our world today.
–Gail Diez


Written in the Second Sunday Writing Group, October 9. 2011
After reading Love After Love, Derek Wolcott
White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi, MN

Mirror of Hope

Hello, you. You are familiar
vague,    shadow-memory
Becoming clearer now.
Your outlines are cleaner
your colors more distinct,
As I stare at you in the mirror.
You are even more familiar-to-me
Yes, I see you—where you start and
the chair ends—as you sit here
in front of me.
I smile at you–you smile
and nod your head.
“I know you, too,” your thoughts say
to me–wordlessly.
How can we connect without words?
We are—
We exchange thoughts back and
forth—taking turns—politely—
Telling each to the other where
We have been—back—back we go
We tell our secrets—our pain—our
Well, you tell yours.
My thoughts, they are more of
The ordinary, everyday, the daily-
Life lived these sixty plus years.
You see, I am the Keeper of the
Current Events. I am the one
Who has kept going—living Life
Being in the daily days.
You-you-you are the
Past One—ones—you
Are saying, telling, revealing
What needs to be forgiven
You tell—think—in rapid succession
All you endured.
I tell you the Present, the . . . but


I want you to join me, here, now
Across the chasm
I want you to come into me
To be me, to . . .
You are me
You and i
We are one. We have been
Disconnected. Too long
You—The Pain
Me-The Daily!
We can re-join through
Letting go.
Releasing Your Pain.
You, yes, you will remain if you
Release the pain.
Trust me—here—
We are both ME.
Come, hold my hand.
Unpeel yourself from the glassy,
Mirror image. Come to me—let
Me hold you.
Yes, I will help you, I will use my
Steady fingers to peel
You from the mirror.
Join me over this chasm
Between us–
If you come to me, WE
Will let go of the Pain
You + Me  =  WE
Can release
The years of terror and pain
Come to me. Be come me
Once again—for the first time
WHOOSH . . .
Here, we rest,
we release
We love, we live in Love
Golden Energy
We did it!
High 5!
There is Hope!

–Diane Markel

sys-divider“These images represent the journey toward hope – from the darkness into the light, from isolation to connection, from being lost in exile to going home.” –Ken Stewart






An Old African Proverb: When you pray, move your feet.
By Carol Nelson

In the rural village of Tikonko, in Sierra Leone, West Africa, hope is in short supply. The decade long civil war devastated the country, its people, schools, health care system and infrastructure. Recover and progress were slow, and then the Ebola outbreak hit in 2014-15, setting back everything. Maternal and child mortality remain among the highest in the world and average life expectancy is only 47 years. Where does one find hope in the midst of severe poverty?

In the summer of 2015, I found myself in Tikonko, working with Rural Health Care Initiative, doing a training program for the Traditional Midwives. At the prenatal clinic in Tikonko, a young pregnant woman, Mamie, looked very sad and without hope. Through the Sierra Leonean interpreter we learned that Mamie’s husband had fallen from a palm tree and died, and that she had two small children at home and very little food, only cassavas, to feed them and herself. Not a nutritious diet for a pregnant woman.

How could we bring hope for Mamie, her unborn child and the rest of her family? She had no extended family to help her. Everyone in the village was very poor, and barely making it through the hungry season, before their subsistence-farming crop was harvested.

Words of encouragement, a prayer or a blessing were not enough. She needed something concrete to make a difference. We were able to provide a small cash donation, so she could buy food and start a small business. Several months later I learned she had given birth to healthy twin girls. A picture showed a smile on her face with her babies in her arms. I hope her small business is successful.

Sometimes, a smile or a word can bring hope. Other times, it requires a much greater understanding of the situation, and the need for the right tangible assistance (food, clothes, education, housing, a loan or other opportunity) to bring hope and dignity to someone who has none. Working with a small NGO in Sierra Leone to improve maternal and child health is one way I can begin to bring hope to people in a community thousands of miles away.

An Old African Proverb: When you pray, move your feet.