Going Rogue in 2017: For Hope

“Rebellions are built on hope.” Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

A simple sentence, with simple words can ripple through our universe. Rebellions are built on hope.

At Christmastime, Disney released the newest Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In it, Rebels Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) both wind up delivering this rallying cry. The line is memorable because it’s an obvious precursor to the movie set right after it: 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope “ (USA Today)

Hope is a simple word. Hope is a power word. Hope is something we’re desperately seeking, not just in the movies, but in our daily lives.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles, blogs, Facebook and Twitter postings in the months preceding and the weeks following the 2016 national election. Because of the divisive rhetoric – which has not subsided, but instead seems to be reeling off course into uncharted territory as the new year unfolds – I find myself fantasizing about living off the grid.

Stunning seems to be the word for the latest news concerning the intelligence agencies’ public report about the Russian attempt to influence our election. And yet, it’s equally stunning the opposite spin that’s bubbling up about it all. And now to navigate the sea of fake news, as well? I thought once the election was over, maybe, just maybe we could simmer down and get back to a little bit of normalcy in our relationships. At least, I hoped for that. Boy, was I dreaming.

HOPE. I like Wikipedia’s definitions: Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.[1] As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.[2]

Hope is the word that filters through the Star Wars films. Rebellions are built on hope.

Words alone, or words strung together have power. A simple word can bring about an epiphany of spirit. A simple word can illuminate a journey.

Trending in recent years is the idea of selecting a personal word-of-the-year. You choose a word (or as some say, it chooses you) for a focus of intention throughout the year. Well, on January 6, the day of the Feast of Epiphany, I knew what my word would be for 2017. HOPE.

Yes, this is a good year to have a focus word.

Words matter. I’ve always intuitively known that. I’m sure that’s why I loved the study of languages during my high school and college years, taught them a little bit, and then settled on writing the words of my native language for local newspapers.

I love words. I wish I’d done so much more with them. I’d hoped… I’d intended… to spend more time studying and working with words. This will be a good year for that.

It’ll be a good year to spend a lot of time with hope. It’ll be a good time to go rogue…to experiment with a bit of a rebellion, one that’s built on hope. How radical is that?

When you ask what the word rogue means, you’ll find some interesting definitions. In the Urban Dictionary, we find this: To cease to follow orders; to act on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction. To pursue one’s own interests.

I feel a little bit, in fact, like their sample sentence: The priest joked that he wrote his sermons not to interest the worshipful, but to rebuke those who were tempted to go rogue. I definitely feel tempted to go rogue…rogue against expectation, for sure.

Can you possibly go rogue for peace, or hope, or beauty? I believe so. I believe it’s something I’m compelled to do. There must be an antidote for the unrest, the despair, the ugliness of negativity piling up like dirty snowbanks of winter.

Winter metaphors abound, but I’ve always loved these words by author Albert Camus. In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer. These simple words strung together become a powerful and hopeful affirmation. You could write an entire essay on that sentence alone.

The other day, I discovered the words that followed that famous quote. They’re particularly meaningful for these times: In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right right back.

I happened to hear First Lady Michelle Obama’s farewell speech, given before a group of school counselors on January 6. I remembered that hope had been the underlying theme of the campaign when the Obamas moved into the White House eight years ago. Looking for parts to quote, I found National Public Radio’s Scott Horsely had highlighted this part of her speech in his blog:

It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and the life of this country, Obama said. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us.

What happened, I wonder, to that theme of hope? There are some things that need constant attention. Maybe we’ve dropped the ball for many Americans, by assuming that hope was intrinsically there.

Hope. Isn’t that, shouldn’t that, be intrinsically always an American hallmark? Everywhere I turn lately, I’m noticing similar thoughts as mine. Wow, that’s kinda scary. So, what might we do about our mutual wish to rise above doubt, division, anger and fear?

One day this winter, I happened to be shopping with my husband and father-in-law at a west Michigan Meijer store. Obviously, they’re prepared for lots of lake effect snow. Hold this picture: Rows of shovels at each checkout. I thought it so stunning, and so cool – and creative – that I was compelled to take a quick photo. I hadn’t thought about using it as a blog photo. But it seems perfect for today.

Imagine shoveling the negativity that’s piling up like dirty winter snow mountains. Imagine taking that snow shovel and excavating – not only the snow – but deep down into your own personal mountain. Toss the snow and the negative thoughts up into the light. Hang on to the the handle. Hang on to hope.

It won’t be easy, hanging on to hope. But this year, I believe it’ll be worth it. Hang on, as if hope is all we’ve got.

I was thinking of all this while watching the Golden Globe Awards. I’d finished that paragraph about snow shovels, when Meryl Streep won the Cecil B. DeMille award, came on stage and delivered her heart-stopping speech. I stopped writing, stared at the screen, and listened in amazement. She put a voice to the collective feelings of many across the nation.

Here, in a link from the Hollywood Reporter: After stressing the importance for the press to stand up to Trump — “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage … We’re going to need them going forward and they’re going to need us to safeguard the truth,” she stressed of journalists — Streep concluded her speech by quoting Carrie Fisher:

Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Huffington Post’s Matthew Jacobs took Carrie Fisher’s words to send off his blog about Streep’s powerful Golden Globe speech, calling the speech career-defining. Mery’s speech offered hope to me.

I have a feeling that this new year will find many Americans – no matter what part of the political spectrum we’re from – will be reflecting on what defines us as Americans. Maybe we’ve been coasting for too long. I know I have. The question is, what am I going to do about it? Might I take a step forward, pick up my shovel, dig up the negativity and toss it into the light of hope?

Might I go rogue, becoming a dealer of hope? Brian Dodd, Director of New Ministry Partnerships for INJOY Stewardship Solutions, offers 19 leadership quotes and lessons from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s fascinating stuff.

Leaders are dealers of hope, says Dodd.  They point people to a brighter tomorrow.  Leaders remind people they are going to make it and there is always a chance to succeed.  This is the message of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This year, I hope to remember the message. This year, I invite you to remember the message. I invite you to go rogue, with me, for hope…A New Hope.

May peace, hope, beauty and love ripple through your universe.

Rebellions, like these, you know, are built on hope.

Urban Dictionary defining rogue

USA Today Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Brian Dodd 19 Leadership Links from Rogue One

Michelle Obama farewell speech on the power of hope

Wikipedia on hope

Hollywood Reporter Meryl Streep Cecil B DeMille Award speech

Huffington Post Meryl Streep Cecil B DeMille Award speech

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Susan G Parcheta dreamed of being an inspirational writer, even as heading off after college to a teaching job. While teaching was not her passion, words were -- writing many years for Livingston newspapers, especially in the areas of education, health and wellness. The dream continues: to inspire creative, healthy living and to explore new concepts of body, mind, spirit. Her signature theme “All Things Beautiful” invites you to embrace the beauty and imagine the possibilities that life has to offer. She lives in Gregory with her husband, Jerry, and their fluffy, pointy-eared -- and always lovable -- cat, Spock.