A Child Named Hope
And the child was born, and as she grew it became apparent that this was a special child. Her golden hair reflected sunlight on sunny days, and during the gloom of winter she seemed to absorb the darkness, so that those in her proximity felt warmth where there was cold.
By the time she was eight she was sought by millions, all longing to be near her, to touch her, to bask in her peacefulness, and to hear her words. Every week, every Saturday, in a field of lavender, she met with those who had come from distant shores, and she answered their questions with patience, and with love.
“Hope, please tell us, how do you feel about the issue of color?”
She smiled that smile, the one that exuded wisdom, cast light upon ignorance, and fed the souls of the lost and forlorn, and when she spoke, it was with the force of a thousand atomic bombs wrapped in cotton, power veiled in peacefulness.
“The rainbow is a purely democratic wonder of Nature, is it not? The blues, the yellows, reds and greens, all individual for sure, and all beautiful in their own right, but fully aware, as only Nature can be, that the world does not function or flourish because of one entity. The world is composed of billions upon billions of cells, all functioning in harmony, so that the blues need the whites, the greens need the reds, and when there is coordination of these talents, wondrous things can, and do, happen.
“Colors are majestic for sure. White, black, brown, yellow, each unique, each worthy of respect, and each sorely needing each other so that the entire spectrum of color will be on display in the future. Take all black from us and the beauty is lost. Eliminate white and the brilliance of the other colors fade. It is only in the perfect, and sublime, blending of colors that true beauty can be found.”
A hand rose from the back of the crowd.
“Surely, Hope, the world needs white more than black. Any fool can see that black is darkness, and white is illumination. How can you say that black needs white and white, black?”
Hope left the stage and walked to the rear of the crowd. Standing before the last questioner, she placed her hand on his forehead and asked him what he saw. Those who were there gasped, for Hope changed colors before them, from black to white, from yellow to brown, and then the colors combined and a rainbow rose above the child. She then spoke:
“Do not speak any longer about black or white. Speak in terms of unity. Only then will we all find the true beauty that is within us all.”
The crowd was stunned, and quiet descended upon them. Minutes passed as the child called Hope made her way back to the stage. Finally, a teenager raised her hand and asked the next question.
“I am confused, Hope, about religion. I want to believe as others do, but I find fault in them all. Some pray for peace and then bomb other countries. Some claim they are the true religion, although they pray to the same god as others. Some behead people in the name of god, but how can that be? Some pray with the Bible, while others embrace the Quran. How am I to know? How can I decide which religion is the true religion? If one is true, does that mean eternal damnation for anyone not believing?”
Hope reached for a glass of water, for her thirst was never-ending. She spread her arms wide and levitated from the stage. Thousands gasped in unison, many in the crowd fell to their knees, while still others cowered in fear, so great was their confusion. She rose to a height of ten feet or so, and floated from the stage to a spot midway in the crowd.
“You are all shocked. You avert your eyes, and you ask yourselves how can this be? How can a child defy gravity and reject the laws of science? It is a miracle, surely, you think, while others are now convinced that witchcraft and evil are among you. Am I a god, or am I evil?
“I am neither my friends. I am an eight-year old child, unrestrained by the crippling dogma that binds you. I do not care about Catholicism or evangelical rantings. I have no interest in Judaism or Hinduism. Those are for others to concern themselves with, those who are only interested in being members of the self-proclaimed ‘chosen few.’
“I am only interested in goodness. I look in a man’s eyes and I see either compassion or selfishness. That is the religion I am interested in, the core of a human being. Do not bother me with the teachings of other men, for men are fallible. Show me, with your actions, that you believe in love. If you do that, then I will sign up for your religion, and yours, and yours and yours and yours.
“Love is my religion, and it should be yours as well.”
An old woman approached the stage after Hope had returned. She climbed the stairs and, unbidden, walked across the stage and stood in front of the child.
“Forgive me, child, but I must be heard. I have been many years upon this planet, and I have seen atrocities perpetrated by mankind upon mankind, and I would like to hear your thoughts about evil. Do you believe it exists? Will it always exist?”
For the first time that morning, sadness crept across the child’s face, and the sadness was like a disease, infecting all in the crowd, a physical presence that threatened to obliterate all goodness in the immediate area….but then Hope stood strong¸ her smile returned, and a collective sigh came from the crowd.
“Do I believe evil exists? Yes! Will it always exist? That depends. Allow me to explain.
“I believe evil walks among us. No, I am not speaking only of the deranged serial killers who rape and pillage because a voice within them forces them to do so. I am not speaking only of the crazed dictators who think nothing of slaughtering millions in the name of ethnic cleansing, or whatever other fabricated excuse they have for their actions of greed and power.
“I am also speaking of the evil that is in us all. Right this very moment, a husband is striking his wife. Right this very moment, a child is sold to a sex-trafficker. Right this very moment, a child is abused by a relative, a homeless veteran is kicked and scorned by passersby, and people are ridiculed because of their sexual orientation. As I speak, thousands know the pain of the whip as modern slavery continues unimpeded. As I speak, animals are killed for profit, to the point of extinction, and the natural balance of this planet is threatened by corporations in need of a better bottom line for their investors.
“Wherever prejudice exists, so does evil. Wherever apathy exists, so does evil. Wherever intolerance and hatred exist, you can count on evil being close by.
“Will evil always exist? That, my friends, depends on you and your actions.
“I Hope you choose wisely.”