Hope Index, Vol. 12: We Are All Waiting to Be Healed
Welcome to a Sunday edition of Hope Index, where we mine the sludge bucket of the internet with tin pans to try to turn up some gold. Turn on some Wilco and acknowledge the human condition with us this afternoon, before we return to our robotic empires in the swell of Monday.
There is healing, there is belief in healing... and then there is another, quieter thing, which is recognizing the truth that healing might not be in the cards. This absolutely gorgeous piece by June Eric-Udorie acknowledges the pain of not being healed with brave wit and specificity, pointing out that sometimes, the most hopeful thing is to breathe in and live with the bodies we have been born with.
As far as "healing" goes, this week has been one in which our nation was rocked yet again by tragedy, incomprehensible violence, and disunity. At Upwrite, we're holding on to the hope that many people, most people living in the United States agree that this place we're in as a nation is unsustainable. If we can't agree on that, we don't even have a country anymore -- we have a group of disparate tribes, eager to claim each other as victims. The New York Times ran a beautiful poem by Langston Hughes as a full-page in their Thursday edition, which the Chicago Tribune has reprinted and editorialized. Read their editorial here - it's got some great biographical info on Hughes, some thoughts on our broken-hearted state of nationhood, and tantalizing idea about what poetry can be. We've got a whole piece forthcoming this week on why you should be reading more poetry, but until this runs, ingest this William Carlos Williams quote, at least: "It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there."
For many of us, the act of writing is, itself, a healing. But when your personal journey becomes a #hot #take, we have taken a step outside of the gift of shared language and toward commodifying the individual pieces of our lives. By objectifying our experience, we risk losing the benefits of that experience to the gaping maw of a churning digital narrative that is neither kind nor empathetic. This piece that Ashley discovered put it so well.
"As writers, we often hand over our souls and stories for the price of approval, advances, page-views, speaking opportunities, and more book deals. But sometimes (not always) the best thing to do is to be silent. To listen. To hear. To experience emotions without immediately finding a place for them. To resist the urge to make a story with a beginning, middle, and end out of our ongoing brokenness and frailty."
It is a lucky thing that that block of text above is too big for me to tattoo on my forearm, because otherwise, I would.
Whether you are out there in the trenches, bogged down in the minutia, dreading the push-pull-drag-you-down of another week ahead, please remember: we are all waiting to be healed. The process is charismatic, cathartic, and consuming -- but it is never, ever automatic. Breathe in the brokenness and remember how we all got here. And invite yourself to hope in a tomorrow that's better.
#blessed. (We really are.)