I Woke Up Hopeful Today

Subtitle: A Coda to I Woke Up Black Today (May 26, 2020) and I Woke Up Sad and Angry Today (May 28, 2020)

Sub-subtitle: What we do does matter.


I have come to believe, to know
that it is here,
where resides my despair,
that hope, unrelenting,
seeking, finding, making home in the tiniest corner,

Hope, the eyes through which,
beyond the present darkness,
I can (I am able) to behold the Light of what is not yet.

For as the Apostle saith, so I agree:
Who hopes for what we see?
And if we hope for what we do not see,
then we wait (and I add: work) for it with patience.

What is this work?

For me, it is to allow the Spirit entrance to teach,
that I may learn and relearn the lesson –
to live the life – of Jesus
of love and justice:
loving acting justly
justly acting loving.

For justice never loves “just us.”
Justice ever loves all; always and in all ways.

So, in despair when I, you, we ask:
“What can, will, ought I, you, we do?”

Do this that all may live.

© 2020 PRA

4 thoughts on “I Woke Up Hopeful Today

  1. Thank you for HOPE!!!!!!

    This is what I’ll carry away from this post and I’ll recite it over and over to myself.

    “that I may learn and relearn the lesson –
to live the life – of Jesus
of love and justice:
loving acting justly
and justly acting loving.”

    I joined the team of folks leading Compline at St Mark’s and began serving last night and will lead it again tonight.. will add this quote to my prayers.

    Much love!!


  2. Dear Paul,

    I’m so glad you got to hopeful this morning. I’m not quite there yet. Early call from Emilia about the sleepless night last night. Fires, rioting, and destruction very near her. She and her neighbors huddled and made the plan to head to our house for evacuation if they thought it necessary. Such a strange mixture of feelings: understanding the rage, helplessness, and exhaustion that have forced people to this moment, but also knowing how much pain is flowing and will flow from the violent release. And yet, the pain of everyday conscious and unconscious racism has been and still is so deep and so relentless that nothing can be worse.

    I’ve been thinking so much about what it means if you make up your mind to follow Jesus, to get on the path behind this figure who leads you straight to the cross and then says, “There it is. It’s yours too. It’s not just mine, and it’s not just theirs. It’s yours too.” We fight against that so hard. And for good reason. Who wants to go through that? I think that’s the choice we white people are facing again, in this moment. We can stay safe. We can stay quiet. We can talk our usual nice talk and tsk-tsk about rage and destruction. Or we can actually try to follow Jesus and take on the pain and the risk that comes with the path of real love and justice. I so hope and pray that this time we can use this moment the people who have had enough have given us, to say yes to the cross others have been bearing for us for so long.

    Much love to you, Paul, my dear brother,



  3. Thank you, Loretta and Karen, always and in all ways, for the kindness of your reading and reflecting on and responding to what I write…

    Our diocesan bishop, Andrew Waldo, called me this morning to inquire about how Pontheolla and I were doing, both in regard to the viral pandemic-induced quarantine and the current deaths and outbursts attending that long (life-long) pandemic called “racism.”

    (As an important aside, Bishop Waldo and Bishop Mariann Budde [of the Diocese of Washington] are dear friends, both having served as rectors of parishes in Minneapolis prior to their elections as bishops. I’ve been in touch with Bishop Mariann via email, and, as I shared with her, so, today, I shared with Bishop Waldo my sympathies for I know that each of them harbors abiding memories and connections with Minneapolis.)

    I relayed to Bishop Waldo that one of the ways I face into difficulty is via the avenues of prayer and thought, and then, should the Spirit and my spirit move, I write. In this case, what hath become a trilogy – I Woke Up Black Today, I Woke Up Sad and Angry Today, I Woke Up Hopeful Today – originally was a two-part poetic expression, for sad/angry and hope were parts of one poem. At the moment of posting, I realized, I felt down in my bones that I wasn’t ready to share about hope. I needed – but did not desire, nevertheless, again, I needed – to stay, to sit with my sadness and anger (especially sadness, for that is not an emotion or state of being, given its necessary inward-facing burden, I favor; anger, being more outward is more my inclination). Then – and this surprised me – the more I dwelled on hope, the more I realized anew that it (not being the wishful thinking of articulating my desires in the face of things I cannot control, but rather my assurance, my conviction that God’s will or the triumph of love and the victory of goodness are realities) enters and dwells in that space not apart from, but rather with my despair. That truth, in and of itself, is helpful for me, for it means nothing less, nothing else than this: Even in my most despairing moments, hope that looks forward, hope that works forward toward the Light abides and bids me on.

    Karen, when I contemplate the rioting, the looting, the willful damage to property and, most sadly, the loss of more lives, I wonder… How much of this is the expression of righteous rage, the volatile admixture of the sadness and anger – as MLK III recently reminded us of one of his father’s beliefs – of the unheard and how much of this is at the instigation of professional provocateurs, indeed, anarchists who purposefully employ the grief of others to promote chaos? Doubtless, I think, I feel, I believe both elements are present. Hence, I pray that the latter cease and desist that the former may be heard and taken seriously; seriously enough that those in authority across the widest range of existential realities – the economy, housing, voting rights, law enforcement, social services and benefits, etc. – will listen and talk, and then act in goodwill for the betterment of the dispossessed.

    With love,


    1. Paul,

      I so agree with your view that despair and hope dwell in the same space. Indeed, sometimes I wonder whether either can actually exist without the other until hope embraces and permeates despair to the point of unity, i.e., the broken heart functioning as the mechanism of hope’s final victory.

      You are absolutely right about the violence and the worst of the property damage here being the result of provocateurs and forces external to Minneapolis’s racial crisis. There is evidence that is the fact, and our attorney general’s priority is to investigate that probability even as the chaos continues. Our governor says that 80% of the people arrested last night violating curfew and committing crimes were from out of state. St. Paul’s mayor says it was 100% in his city. I do think once the violence, destruction, and burning start, community members become caught up in it and some have engaged in looting and damage because of their own rage, despair, exhaustion, and, frankly, poverty. Unfortunately, the typical white response is to generalize and condemn rather than to understand the exploitation by white nationalist and other forces and the dynamics of intense emotions and desperation in all the chaos. This will all take a very long time to sort out. I only pray that the truth does not get lost and the old status quo move in to camouflage and suppress it once again, as has happened so many times before.




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