“Hope is a thing with feathers – that perches in the soul…” This excerpt from a poem written by Emily Dickinson around 1861, was shared on a note to our seniors with a yellow rose they received when they picked up their cap and gown on Friday. The rose is a reminder of the traditional red roses they will receive at graduation.

Ms. Dickinson would not have known how relevant her poetry is in this specific moment in 2020, but there is no doubt she wanted to offer a reflection on hope’s eternal promise even in times of great disappointment.

Dickinson presents hope as ever present – a bird that never stops singing. In our faith we know that hope is a virtue and confident expectation of what God has promised. Psychologist Charles Synder defines hope as the “perceived ability to produce pathways to achieve desired goals and to motivate oneself to use those pathways.” Ethereal metaphor, God’s constant love for us, psychological construct – hope is real and present in our lives. It us something we can identify and embrace.

We are all dealing with many disappointments and fears in the midst of this pandemic. Hope is needed now more than ever. May we always be open to the promise of hope knowing this is the first step to making this all better for ourselves and each other. 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
                                                                                                      Emily Dickinson

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