Whispering HopeOctober 22nd, 2008 © by Susan Swartz
We were playing bocce ball and talking about – what else? – the election, and my friend whispered, “I said it today.”
She had been getting a massage and looked up at the person rubbing the knots out of her neck and quietly said, “I think he may do it.”
And the masseuse quietly said the same thing back.
Nervously looking around for spies, I told my friend I’d said it, too. In bed, drinking coffee, listening to a rare upbeat report on NPR. I said it to my husband and he shook his head and said, “Not yet, too soon.”
My teacher friend and I were walking our dogs when she confided that she and a colleague had just that morning agreed that they were daring to think positive. And then they cringed and agreed not to say it again.
At a neighborhood party I heard a college student start to say something about winning when an older woman across the lawn suddenly turned and said “shush.”
You don’t want to go too public. We’ve been tricked before. So if you must say it, maybe you should throw salt over your shoulder or kiss a newt or something.
You don’t want to jinx anything.
And good Lord, if you feel a victory dance coming on, pull the shades.
One thing, though. Hope sure beats dread and despair, which has been filling some people’s hearts. Witness the not-so-jokey-talk about the best places to move to in Canada. Vancouver has water. Montreal has French sympathizers.
But it’s still many days until possible jubilation. There are many intermissions in this endless movie. Confidence is risky. Cockiness will get you in smarty-pants trouble with the gods.
With this in mind, I took a day off and put my torn psyche in the hands of a two-year- old, a creature who faithfully believes that fog eventually lifts and rain stops, just because she wants it too. And when the sun comes out it will dry all the swings in the park before lunchtime.
The world of a two year old is, as she says “pretty fun.” With shoulders to ride on and swings that go higher and higher. No wish is denied. All wishes are reasonable. And tolerance is a given. If the yellow slide is occupied, you run over to the green one.
No one will challenge your claim that cows have Cheerios for breakfast. And if they do try to argue all you have to do is ask “why?” 20 or 30 times and they will concede.
Two-year-olds don’t have to meditate to be in the moment. They don’t wake up scared and asking, “Now, what’s happened?” They sing just because they feel like it. When they get cranky they admit it and say, “I’m having a hard time.”
They can deal with a financial crisis. If they covet a stuffed giraffe with legs that move and you throw up your hands and say “no money,” they accept it.
They are loud but they are not mean.
You can tune out all the grown-up junk when you’re sitting with a two year old and spreading peanut butter on apples. You can get very close and whisper, “Maybe, even better times are coming.”
Listen to the Whispering Hope Podcast of Another Voice on KRCB-FM