The word “hope” is everywhere in my house.
No kidding. (See photo.)
It’s on my wall in an Emily Dickinson quote: “ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—that perches in the soul— ”.
I’ve gotten several gifts with the word emblazoned upon it: books, stones, mugs, plaques, artwork.
Our foster daughter’s name isn’t Hope, but her name means “hope.” After she found that out, she started doodling it on most of her drawings. She writes it in the dust that collects on surfaces. She has scratched it into candle wax with her fingernail.
It’s even on the night light in her bedroom, like a beacon.
In spite of this, “hope” is not a word I’ve ever really thought much of--I always thought it was a little bit foolish. It seemed naive. People who had “hope” were out of touch with reality.
Lately, though, it’s like the cosmos is screaming it at me: Hope!
So when we were approached to film a promotional video for Reel Hope, I had to be part of it.
I mean...hope. It was in their name.
Reel Hope is a nonprofit organization that uses professional videography to tell foster kids’ stories to help them find adoptive families, and it also seeks to provide community and church support for those adoptive families.
I loved the idea of giving voice and video to those kids’ stories, stories that are so often forgotten or ignored. It made me feel...hopeful.
But the word "church" made me nervous...
I haven’t been to church in a long time, other than occasional attendance for holidays. And it’s not so much that I just want to sleep in, either. It’s hard to believe in hope when you see the injustice, cruelty, abuse, heartbreak, and pain within the foster care system. It’s hard to believe that there’s a divine plan for these broken and hurting families, that this unspeakable pain can somehow lead to “greater good.”
This is an area where today’s church has failed tremendously. (Sorry, but it’s true.) The early church literally headed for the hills to seek out abandoned children, to take them in and raise them, to be their family. Today’s church is more likely to raise up a collection of funds or prayers for someone else to do it. So often prayers begin with, “Lord, please send _____ to care for those in need.”
Just fill in that blank with someone else’s name.
There’s that frustrating transfer of responsibility from supplicant to God when those prayers are uttered. They might as well pray: “God, I see that this is a problem, but instead of doing anything myself, I’m going to ask that you send somebody else to help these people in need.” I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Bible that we’re supposed to care for “the fatherless and the widow,” yet I can count the number of people I know who’ve fostered on one hand.
Reel Hope’s mission is to change that, and their action gives me hope.
They’re making these videos so people will be moved to stand up and be that somebody, to put their faith into action and be hope.
Reel Hope is working to change what hope means.
It’s making hope real. (And reel. Really, reel-y real.) It’s faith in action to make these opportunities for adoption realistic possibilities for kids in need.
I think we have a moral responsibility to step up and be hope. It’s not something we do for ourselves. It’s something we give to others. And it’s not at all naive or foolish or silly or anything I used to think that it was.
It’s as real as we make it.
Thanks, Reel Hope, for making it (and keepin' it) real.