Whit’s End: Even in trying times, new life offers hope
We may live in a land of privilege — especially here, in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. Even so, these aren’t the easiest times to call ourselves Americans.
A Pew Research Center study released last week shows the split along American political lines is greater than it’s been in 20 years. Since 1994, Pew has conducted research about government aid, immigration, race and more. The most recent report shows the gaps between what Republicans and Democrats think about these issues is wider than ever — even surpassing the record levels the survey previously found during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Regardless of your political leanings, I’m sure you’ve heard cries of despair from those around you. I certainly have.
But I’ve also seen declarations of hope.
A friend shared her constant belief in goodness on March 20. Amber and Kevin have been together for more than 15 years. She posted a sonogram on her Instagram account with the following explanation:
“Spring is my favorite season; it means hope & renewal. Fittingly, I had my mid-pregnancy ultrasound on this happy day. Growing her remains a joyous journey, as (husband) & I face middle age and a world we don’t understand, she gives us hope. To help relate why we’ve chosen to start this new adventure now, read the essay on Radical Hope by Junot Diaz in the November 21, 2016 issue of @newyorkermag. It conveys Jonathan Lear’s theme that radical hope ‘is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is.’”
Amber and Kevin didn’t become parents in her late 30s — and on his 40th birthday — by mistake. Beryl Dove is a tangible reminder of the hope they cling to, a blessing on earth. Her name represents Dove’s parents’ dreams for her and years defined by peace.
She’s surely not the only child bringing such joy in trying times, nor the only much-desired baby to grace my circle of friends. Heather and Evan had long discussed parenthood, and as a pediatrician she’s been surrounded by young life throughout her career. When she went into labor Saturday, she experienced the joy of birth as a mother, rather than as the pediatrician on duty.
Heather and Evan are the most excited by their son’s arrival, I’m sure. But it’s clear they aren’t alone. During my visit with them Monday, every medical professional who popped in was delighted to meet this long-awaited boy. He has already brought smiles to so many, as newborns tend to do.
He and Dove both arrived in a world that’s always been imperfect, during a particularly tumultuous year. Fires have raged, hurricanes come ashore and families are as likely as elected representatives to argue over left and right.
But these new lives remind those around them that life is filled with hope and possibility. Beryl Dove and Rowan James, may all your days be filled with such promise.
Carla Jean Whitley is an eternal optimist whose greatest joy comes from her role as Aunt Kit. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.