Saturday, July 20, 2019


You survey your cultural landscape. Maybe you're looking at a boundary. Well, perhaps more than one. Many boundaries around you? Probably. 

Down below in the photo, you see the fence? On this side of the fence, a patio. Note the potted bamboo to the left. I bought the plant in Seattle about ten years ago, planted it in a tub and hoped for growth. The plan has lived in DuPont, Washington and in Manzanita and Bethany, Oregon. But my hope for beautiful bamboo wasn't realized. The plant stayed alive, but barely. I sometimes thought of dumping it.  ("Toss it out! Toss it out!"}

But I always decided that I liked the plant, maybe because of nostalgia. It reminded me of the Greenwood neighborhood where I bought it, very close to the Tibetan monastery. So, despite its failure to fulfill my hopes for it, I saved it anyhow.

When we moved to Newberg, OR, the bamboo traveled in the moving van. Here, amazingly, now it's really, finally prospered. Same tub, same care, but lots more life and more green. Hope realized? I'll say so. But only after a very long wait, a lot of patience and some care-giving.

(If  Trump reads this he'll invent a new campaign cheer: "Green It Up! Green It Up!" But he'd probably be thinking of American paper money, not bamboo.)

In the photo, beyond the fence and across the street you'll see another reminder of hope. The building houses Marquis Newberg, a medical specialty business suppling licensed nursing care for people in need.

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A typical example: an older person is admitted to a Portland area hospital for surgery. The hospital sees realizes that after surgery the patient is ready for discharge but not directly to home. The discharge staff connects the patient for post-op care with Marquis Newberg. Just across the street from my patio, just past the bamboo, ill and recovering patients arrive every day by ambulance, medical transport van or private car. I visited a patient in Marquis. He was grateful for the staff and their skills. . .they gave just what he needed at that point in his recovery. They give hope beyond. 

Those are signs of hope I see when I look out of the window at the patio and the neighborhood. Scenes of hope up close.

People weaken and stumble if they don't have hope. If you're looking at America across the pond from your home in Asia or Europe or Africa I know it's become difficult to be hopeful about America's role in the world. It's not like the days of President John F. Kennedy, when the U.S. began to send Peace Corps volunteers to assist communities in Africa, Asia and elsewhere with their needs. Many, perhaps most, Americans themselves are losing hope also.

What to do? Take a few days to rest and recovery, like a patient in skilled nursing. Get the emotional care you need--maybe from a group you've joined or from your reading or meditation. Come back to hopefulness, like the bamboo. The potential is there; we need to create the right conditions.

If you regain hope, others will too. Together, we can move our nation, our world, back to our central values: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, peace and justice. It won't happen without plenty of care and cultivation. When election time comes, vote for candidates that espouse values: "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."



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