We begin to grow old from the moment we lose hope and the spirit of challenge, when we become self-satisfied or grow resigned to our present circumstances. ~ Daisaku Ikeda
When I awoke this morning my thoughts where of the many good things happening in our community. Yes, we have many challenges before us. And no, we do not want to ignore the shadows of injustice that challenge our communities. And yet, it is so easy to get consumed by the negative. The internet has helped us connect globally. With this global connection we can get the bad news from all over the world, instantly. Life is a drama. What seems to sell best is a drama filled with conflict, controversy, and tragedy. And yet, there is so much good happening in the world. So many missions of hope. So many points of light. And for those who are taking on the challenges and difficulties of our time, how could you carry on without the light of hope?
Here in Eugene, I notice that there is a lot of good happening. Our downtown is coming alive with new businesses. For those who have lived here for a long time, we know that our downtown has struggled for decades. Even when the economy was doing much better (back in the 90’s) our downtown struggled. Frankly, our downtown has seemed hopeless at times. And yet, during these very challenging economic times, our downtown is growing and coming alive.
It’s also interesting to note that Eugene is ranked high among young people across the country as a highly desirable place to live. I suspect that the University of Oregon, the great outdoors, our love for the arts and education, and our rather eccentric culture have something to do with this.
I’ve also noticed over the past several years that in the midst of these challenging times, there are many people in our community who have maintained a vigilant focus on the light of possibility. They have not succumbed to negativity. This is not to mean we don’t have serious issues to face in our community. We do. Yet, it’s what we focus on most that will grow in power. If we overly focus on the shadows, the dark areas of life, then that’s what we give power to.
It’s not darkness that lights the way. It is the light of hope.
When appreciation, creativity, and persistent effort meet opportunity, a better life unfolds. It really takes courage.
The day is not over. Ever vigilant, those who hold the flame of hope are the leaders of the day.