Editor’s Desk: HOPE, IN SPITE OF THE EVIDENCE

dandelion hope determination

Image Source: Dreamstime | © © Iakov Filimonov

I’m having to turn this “Editor’s Desk” piece in prior to the conclusion of voting in the 2020 election. If you are like me you’re sitting on pins and needles and feeling quite anxious about it. Nevertheless, life goes on outside the election. Thus, here are my thoughts for the day.

We received an inquiry from a listener who is grappling with the many injustices in the world both now and throughout history. He states, When I read the goals of organizations like yours, I think how sincere and well intentioned they are—but also how naïve. The assumption is that the law of averages is miraculously going to overcome poverty and injustice, and that transformation will occur because it has to be so. I ask, why does it have to be so just because it seems right? Maybe there is a reason for the human tragedy that we have not thought of.”

I was compelled to get back to him with the following response:

We deeply respect your ponderings and questions. We also know that you are not expecting us to have the definitive answers. However, I feel there is an invitation from you for us to express some thoughts on the subject of social justice, and how humanity can turn a corner from both its present course and that throughout written history.

I may not cover your exact points, but here are a few musing on what keeps me from pulling the covers up over my head and just giving up on the world.

I am inspired by the persistence of growing green things. For example, a single blade of grass can push itself up through a large cement slab. That blade of grass, once through, is joined by others until the grass itself is starting to make rubble out of the cement.

I feel I’m one of those blades of grass, and that through actions–motivated by love rather then fear–I can make a difference within my sphere of influence. Knowing that a blade of grass persists against the seemingly huge obstacle of cement keeps me going in the face of overwhelming evidence that the world is in terrible shape.

When I hear about the devastation going on in the oceans, I produce a program about it with someone who is having a positive impact on the situation. When I feel the Christian tradition as spoken by Jesus has been hijacked by shrieking radical Christians, I produce a program with an evangelical minister who speaks from a voice of reason and love.

I can remember that back in the early ’70s the birthing process was treated like a medical emergency in a surgical amphitheater with bright lights, a drugged mother who was helpless to participate, and a baby pulled from her body with forceps. We started producing programs on this subject with such luminaries as Dr. Frederick Leboyer who advocated what he calls ‘birth without violence.’ Since that time practically every hospital in the U.S. has set up a birthing center where natural childbirth is supported by a midwife, low lights, and a supportive team.

Also, in the early ’70s New Dimensions was producing programs on alternative and complimentary medicine. The mainstream media laughed at us, but now it is acknowledged that more money is spent on this kind of medicine than on allopathic medicine. Insurance companies now pay for some of these alternatives.

I could go on with other examples of the changing of an age. New Dimensions has done programs on prison reform, peace, the media, work and livelihood, business, politics, and many other subjects. We are not covering all that needs to be covered, but we are doing our part. And that is the point for me. It’s good to look at the history from where we’ve come and be aware of the terrible injustices that continue to emerge in the world today. However, we must keep doing what we can to change that.

Michael Toms was fond of saying, ‘Hope is believing, in spite of the evidence—and working actively to change the evidence.’

-Justine Willis Toms