"It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.
It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
it is the motion that runs
from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.
It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak."
Hope" by Lisel Mueller from Alive Together. © Louisiana State University Press, 1996
Hope is a loving commodity that we are called to share and believe in until our dying breath. Those who lose hope, die. Those who have it, live. Hope can be in just a simple package, hope to have the courage to live through the day and make a difference, or it can be a larger hope of doing the absolutely impossible. The movie Hoosiers is about that seemingly impossible hope. It is about a small town high school basketball team with eight players who go on the win the state championship in 1952 in Indianapolis, Indiana, a major basketball state. I identify with this hope because I grew up in a small town in Virginia with less than 200 in my high school and only 33 in my graduating class. Our school basketball team, the West Point Pointers did go on the win the state championship the year my younger brother was on the team. The movie, Hoosiers, came out in 1986, and the next year I asked all my children and my husband to take me with them to see the movie on my birthday. That night each of our three children and my husband made a dish for an amazing birthday dinner at our home before we piled into our car to go to the movie theater. I cried throughout the whole movie that night and cried again this morning, as I always do, whenever I see Hoosiers. The movie still teaches me and moves me so deeply. It is certainly about hope in the impossible, when the small voice can speak out to be heard over the conventional large voice. For me, it also is a way to go back into my memory book and feel the love of my family as I did at that dinner and at the movie theater on my birthday.
The father of one of the Hickory players in the movie, Reverend Doty, is a minister who always prays before the game with the team. His prayer before the final game for the state championship includes the story of David and Goliath. My hope is that in my lifetime I have had the courage not to be afraid to go up against the Goliaths in my life. I know sometimes I have, and sometimes I have not. Most of the time the result is not like David’s, but there is something even more powerful about knowing we tried and in some way made a difference instead of staying quietly on the sidelines or not trying.
That birthday and that movie taught me another lesson. A spiritual friend, Peggy Hays, had suggested to me to tell my family exactly what I wanted for my birthday instead of “hoping” they would read my mind and do what I “hoped” for them to do. So, I told them about the dinner and the movie and it has become the birthday I will always remember. The lesson for me is to share with others my hopes and dreams instead of asking them to read my mind.