By Tommy Airey
Note: In the lead-up to the election, RD.net is prodding leaders to submit creative and concise pieces (500 words or less) on both hope and resistance.
“Hope rises, She always does, did we fail to notice this in all the stories they’ve tried to suppress?”—Alice Walker
With only 29 days left ‘til the election, truth, beauty and goodness are being crucified in press conferences, social media posts and prayer meetings. I must confess: I’m struggling to rein in my resentment. However, I am actively resisting by seizing the hope set before us.
I find hope hiding under tents on my trips to the farmer’s market. Especially when there’s arugula.
Hope tarries during my trail runs on the banks of Towarnehiooks—as the scent of hops from the Deschutes Brewery wafts in the wind.
Hope sets our rhythm during dinner prep, when Lindsay and I play Stevie Wonder’s 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. Especially “Joy Inside My Tears.”
Hope haunts us when we join Greg and Casey for another episode of Lovecraft Country. Racism in America is monstrous. But Black-led resistance moves to a rhythm that transcends fear and despair.
Hope reminds me that we have a fighting chance when white men I knew from a previous life call me out of the blue because they want to talk about how white supremacy works.
Hope holds me when I stop hustling—when I tell Lindsay and text Nick that, today, I groped for value outside of myself because I struggled to believe in my inherent belovedness. Lindsay and Nick don’t try to fix me. They feel with me.
Hope reigns in every other relationship where I can let down, show scars, lament loss and be compassionately curious about my counterfeit copings—with Jenn and Sheldon, Jeannette and Lola, Justin and Tiffany, Amanda and Kyle and Angela, Peter, Dale, Chris, Oz, Mike, Josh, Kyle, Jeremy, Tom and too many more to name.
The more-than-human world proclaims hope daily. The hummingbird travels thousands of miles just to pursue the sweetness of life. The buck grows antlers to grow more agency—to buck off anything that might weigh him down. In the Aspen grove, what appears to be many different trees is one organism—connected by roots that do the dirty work of feeding, nurturing and protecting. All underground. In the dark. Like a Movement.
Hope vibrates too. A few months ago, Mike gifted me with a brand new Hypervolt. While pro basketball players use the massage gun for personal healing and recovery, I’m firing it to build beloved community. The young boys next door giggled uncontrollably when I brought it over for our outdoor dinner party last week. I turned it up to level three and went to work on their hamstrings. They took turns, competing to see who could resist the turmoil the longest. Laughter is a serious form of resistance. “Unless you change and become like children,” Jesus proclaimed, “you cannot be a citizen of the heavenly reign.”
Indeed, hope scripts me through the sacred text. When I’m flooded with fear, I join the two disciples scared shitless on the road to Emmaus. Their hearts burned when they learned the prophetic truth about reality: that suffering must come before glory. If we are really going to be great again, I know I need to embrace vulnerability. Hope opens my ears so I can hear the good news. After truth, beauty and goodness are crucified, they will rise up—even when the neoliberal and fascist forces of racism, materialism and militarism lock the doors on democracy.
Tommy Airey is a former high school teacher and Evangelical pastor. He is the co-curator of RadicalDiscipleship.net and author of Descending Like a Dove: Adventures in Decolonizing Evangelical Christianity (2018).