The season of hope

Jan 2, 2022 | 8 comments

A close friend of mine recently remarried after being single for over 12 years. I was not surprised. She maintains a healthy diet and likes to be out and about, taking art classes, volunteering once a week for a good cause and having lunch dates with friends in any one of Cuenca’s many fine restaurants. It was during one of these sorties that she met the man who — although too old to get down on his knees without considerable effort, and needing assistance getting up — swore allegiance and promised to love and honor her, ‘till death do us part.’ She is 67, he is 71.

I am very happy for her. However, the singularity of how her friends responded when they heard the wonderful news perplexed me; almost everyone said the same thing: “I thought all of that was behind us. This gives me hope.”

I was quite moved by the response and more than a little concerned, for it is never too late to fall in love again and hope really does spring eternal.

Please, allow me to remind you that the past does not define you – the present does. The best is not behind you; if you look, closely you will see that the future is holding the door open for you to explore new ideas, reconsider the past and embrace hope. It is time for fresh memories to be made and good times to be had.

Opportunities that come with age are too often overlooked which is unfortunate because we have so many more activities to choose from and a lot more time to pursue them with a seriousness of purpose. Attaining happiness now and enhancing faith in the future is easier than ever with age.

Old memories, be it a tragic childhood or past relationships that turned sour, are just that – old and sour. There is no reason for them to get in the way of living fully today. Having a boatload of fun right now will break down the ancient bad news, tipping the scale towards even greater good news; in time the weight of sadness will lighten until you can neglect a particular sadness altogether because you are healing and the scar is fading into the past.

It is also a good idea to remember who you are and how you got here – you, the adventurer who left the past behind, and against all odds and for whatever reasons, made a pilgrimage all the way to the high Andes of southern Ecuador weighed down only by the baggage you carried. You, the strong one, broke fresh trail while former classmates were retiring to a recliner and watching reruns of, “I Love Lucy.” You, the pioneer. the immigrant signing government documents, not unlike a birth certificate, establishing your presence in a brand new world. I applaud your heroism.

Please, keep in mind that if you want to have fun at parties, you have to attend the parties — as many as possible. Being out and about increases the likelihood that you will find new friends and lasting relationships that are far more rewarding than “friending” someone who sits alone, cloistered in a room guiding a mouse through a maze of circuit boards and vast distances while looking to find someone who is alone and cloistered in a room guiding a mouse through a maze of circuit boards and vast distances.

Compelling studies have produced evidence that Facebook (and other social media sites) are no more interested in your well-being than a jackal on the savanna. They are charged with developing algorithms designed to addict you to marketing powerhouses designed to steal your money while robbing you of your precious time – and self esteem. And, for heaven’s sake, do not take the bait of mean-spirited trolls posting under multiple phony names, spewing phony stories of conspiracies, pushing tribalism hatred, repeating crazytalk as if it had any basis in fact, and seeking revenge for perceived wrongs. Pity them, and may God bless their pointed little heads.

My pal, Jackie Sario, has kept herself busy all through the pandemic. She is now branching out. “I’m teaching knitting to those hoping to learn the craft,” she said. “I do it because I enjoy it and it helps to support my friend’s yarn shop.”

Johanna Fox, who has nursed more sick and injured dogs than anyone I know, simply said, “Everybody can do something to offer hope to those in need.”

Jeremiah Reardon and John Keeble, both now “of an age” regularly lead friends and join others who hike in the Cajas to feel the power of nature and to seek its rewards. Franny Hogg, a literary powerhouse in her own right, is mentoring young writers who are hoping to become good writers,.

Karen Kennedy is sharing her considerable talent by giving voice lessons to those hoping to use their voice as an instrument; to sing. My long-time friend, Joseph, is teaching journalism at a prestigious university in the U.S. He resolved to aid his students budding careers, dismiss the bellicose zealots souring the media and to promote thoughtful conversation grounded in fact-based science.

It appears there are as many opportunities that offer hope as there are folks living in Cuenca.

Let’s all agree to make this year the best year ever. We have the expertise to push the pandemic back where it belongs, the opportunity to promote a more peaceful and just society, and the resources to spread our message of hope to a world weary of all the bombast on the airways, and even our own print media. It is a lofty set of goals that need our attention.

Today is a good day to write down your resolution of how you can best to be part the solution and inspire hope.

I’ll tell you what I hope for; I hope y’all have a great 2022.

Robert Bradley

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