Tag Archives: hope

Charlottesville and a time for gracious anger

[Image description: A raging fire in the background. In the foreground is the silhouette of a wooden chair and some branches. Image obtained from Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. If you have been reading the news this weekend about the white supremacists, hooded KKK members, and Nazis protesting in Charlottesville and the car the plowed into counter-protesters, killing several and injuring dozens of others, and our president’s cowardly response blaming “both sides,” you may be feeling a combination of weariness and hopelessness and anger. And fear for the people we love and for our country, the United States. This feeling has become familiar these past few months. I don’t really know what to say in this post. I know the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends…I don’t know. In recent months it seems that this arc is bending the opposite way, toward injustice, racism, misogyny, bigotry. “The heat here is nothing compared to what you’re going to get in the ovens,” says a white supremacist in the protest. It seems our side, the side that fights for inclusivity and justice and compassion, is losing.

A while ago, a colleague of mine, Nancy Long of 501 Commons, shared with me her philosophy of cultivating gratitude and impatience and how we must work toward a balance between the two, the balance of appreciating what we have, but to be impatient and to use that energy to push for change. This concept has stuck with me over the years; it is wise counsel on some of the darkest days.

Reflecting on Nancy’s words, I realize the horrible events and the state of generalized fear and anxiety of the past few months require us to balance something more difficult than Gratitude and Impatience, and that is Grace and Anger. Continue reading

The inequitable distribution of hope

Photo by Valeria Koulikova

This weekend the kids at our Saturday English School (SES) program had turkey for the very first time. We told them it was chicken…really large chicken. They had just arrived to the US this year, this was their very first Thanksgiving celebration, and turkey is a weird meat that they were not going to touch. After they eat the turkey and like it, we then say, “Ha ha, you just ate turkey and you liked it!” That’s how VFA rolls, following the motto for the SES program: “Curiosity, Perseverance, Deception.”

Over 120 kids showed up, middle and high-schoolers from all over the world. The program, done in partnership with Seattle World School (SWS) serves over 15 languages. I stood near the door and scanned the room, inspired by the students, some of whom take two buses to get to our program each week.

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