I am always amazed how hope is so effervescent and abundant during spring. The lengthening of days, the budding of blossoms, the chirping of birds, the scurrying of all God’s creatures each give expression to nature’s abundant hope. It is no wonder that Easter falls within the season of spring. It seems that all of nature wants to sing of new life and so it seems right for me during spring to remember my spiritual roots, which lie within the Christian story of the resurrection. Indeed both the season of spring and the stories of Easter contribute to my walking with a little more pep in my step these days when I take my daily walk.
This renewal of hope bolsters me in my daily engagement with life from the simplest tasks to the more focused tasks in favour of a world where the values of justice, peace, and sustainability are upheld. For example, recently, after having prepared the evening meal and tidied the kitchen, we attended a meeting in the community to organize resistance to a recent decision by the local health authority to move physicians and nurse practitioners out of the nearby health clinic. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that this decision appears to me to rest more upon political ideology than on sound health care policy. The ruse does not pass the smell test and members of the community know it. Mobilization and opposition is beginning to take shape.
Only a few generations ago there was no universal health care in Canada, but now there is, mostly due to the activism of Canadians who saw the need for health care. While our system is under strain, and can be improved upon, it remains one of the best systems in the world. But, this latest move by the local health authority is a small attempt to diminish the caliber of our health care system. I doubt that it will succeed in undermining the confidence Canadians have in their health care system. Imperfect as it is, our health care systems stands as a work of the common good and there are simply too many good citizens who value the common good to allow it to crumble. You may say my view is naïve—I happen to think it is hopeful.
We all need places where hope is practiced, where hope can break out. Hope flows through the seasons and lives in nature. A day walking in mountains or fields or forests will easily renew the slowed heart. Likewise, an evening with family, friends, or fellow citizens listening to some of the many human stories that constantly swirl around, and within us, can strengthen the heart and invigorate the spirit. And flowing out from the interplay between the circle of nature and the circles of ‘others’ are the human systems that solidify the common good into communal systems that benefit us all. As long as there is nature to walk in and human stories to inspire us there will be systems of the common good to carry our hope and sustain us. And that is a beautiful thing.