- Padraig O Tuama
My friend and former pastor posted O Tuama's words on his Instagram several days ago and they brought me up short in my scrolling. After many weeks off from this blog I finally received the motivation to come back with the goal of assembling words to uplift and inspire, challenge in healthy ways, or even admit passing sorrow and loss with an outlook toward gratitude and hope for the future. Lofty goals, admittedly, but the only way I could bring my fingers back to the keyboard.
We are surrounded by dark, blaring headlines, dire warnings and partisan fury. Though I have many story ideas squirreled away from years of dabbling, the plot lines about eco-wars and epidemics no longer appeal. What seemed futuristic in previous decades has now come to pass and visions of hope and beautiful alternatives seem more necessary than scary predictions.
My writing project over the past months has been a gift that lays out such visions of hope. My mother and I have been reading and transcribing the letters my father wrote to her during the 11 months he served in Vietnam -- 50 years ago exactly. Though lonely, hot, far away from home and surrounded by war, Dad focused on his fiancee and castles in the air built on their hopes for the future.
He wrote passages that prod me to reform my sometimes gloomy outlook:
"I am optimistic over the prospects offered by the Paris peace talks. They met for 6 1/2 hours yesterday but nobody said much about what occurred. I take this as a good sign that a real discussion of business is going on and nothing will be said until the results are finalized. I have been an optimist all along and will continue to be one. I think if I weren’t I would lose my mind."
As true today as they were in 1969 - we must be somewhat optimistic or we will lose our collective mind. Dad's words from Vietnam motivate me to actively hope and put work behind my dreams for my future and my children' futures. The possibilities are before us if we can only guide one another through the minefield of negative news and make a light for ourselves - and others - to follow.