There is a street in Glasgow, Scotland, called Hope Street.
I have walked down that street often.
Nothing ever happens.
I start at the beginning of the street or join it from an adjoining street part way along it, and either make it to the end of the street, or leave it further along than I started.
However long I am on Hope Street the thought always remains with me that I am walking on Hope Street. It always seems somehow important that I’m walking a street called Hope Street. It strikes me as the kind of street that you would seek out, you’d want to walk that street.
Still, nothing ever happens on it, I walk along it and I leave it and I am the same. Nothing happens.
But still its very name makes me think.
It could be called Smith Street, or Brown Street or any other name and it wouldn’t make me think.
But it’s called Hope Street.
Although nothing ever happens on it except traffic flowing and people going about their business, the rain falling, the sun shining, the wind blowing, or not blowing, still, given that it’s called Hope Street, it gives me a level of anticipation that when I walk along it, something ought to happen to trigger hope.
But nothing ever happens.
One day it struck me that this is a bit like life.
We journey on our individual pathways and always hope for something more, something better. In many ways, hope drives us, yet for so many people nothing ever happens with that hope. They walk the hope pathway, hope street, hope road, and nothing ever happens. Then they get to the end of life and are disappointed that hope, which was promised, never really arrived, not in the way they’d hoped anyway.
Yes there are things in life that they can say were good; laughter, joy, family, many things, but there was ‘something’ that was missing, the hope that transcended all these things, the hope that was promised, never materialised and they are left, like so many, disappointed.
One day, for no obvious reason, as I was walking down Hope Street, I stepped aside, my back to a wall and just looked around me.
I just looked around. I saw a woman coming out of a shop with a plastic bag which split and spilt her purchases on the ground. Her shoulders slumped and then another woman went over and helped her pick them up and went back into the shop for another bag. I saw a man trip on the pavement and another man caught him before he hit the ground. I saw a shopkeeper watching the road from his doorway then go inside to warn a customer that a traffic warden was coming. I saw a girl getting onto a bus but didn’t have enough money for her journey and the lad behind her giving her the rest of the bus fair. I saw a man with a huge ‘golfing’ umbrella motion for an elderly lady to stand under it with him when the rain came on and she had no shelter. I saw other things that weren’t so hopeful or helpful but in amongst the bad there was the good. I saw people making hope where none existed. I saw people choosing to do the right thing, to do a good thing when they didn’t have to.
As the rain was stopping I saw little rays of sun burst through the clouds and knew that the sun was there all along. That the rain only continues for awhile and then the sun shines again. And I noticed something I would never have noticed had I continued my walk. A woman standing chatting to another woman and on her jacket was a small silver cross held there by a pin.
Hope…on Hope Street where nothing ever happens. Except if you stop to look. Hope is there, not always in ways we’d like perhaps, not always in obvious places but it’s there all the same. We can watch hope happen and we can make hope happen.
Any street we walk down can be turned into Hope Street by our actions.
When I stopped walking and looked around I saw that the hope I’d always missed was there all the time. I was just continually walking and never stopped to actually look around me. Now, when I walk down Hope Street, I know it’s there even when I’m not seeing it. I remember that little cross on the jacket and I know the hope that is promised and I know I can reach out and both find and create hope because it’s either waiting for me to witness it or there are opportunities waiting for me to bring hope to them.
I can witness it and take hope from it…and I can create it.
Thanks for reading 🙂