The following article was submitted to and printed by the La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader, respectively, in response to Sam Lundquist’s project of chronicling what people say to the question:  “What is your hope?”

My greatest hope is that we learn to soften the hard edges of fear in our personal lives – as well as in our collective life (and that we do so sooner, rather than later).

While fear can serve us well, inspiring caution in situations proven to be dangerous, it also tends to overshadow the life-affirming and empowering qualities of love and faith.

Some of the fears through which we are burdened and which manifest in the discord and violence of racism, sexism, homophobia and poverty; in degradation of the environment around us and the spirit within us; include:  fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of difference, fear of insufficiency, fear of our potential as human beings and the responsibility that implies.

When these fears take hold there is little room for love and compassion.  There is little room for generosity, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity.  When fear takes hold awe and reverence whither away; joy crumbles; and lonely desperation unfurls.  But, where love abides, all things are possible!

A further hope is that all our glittering hopes not gather dust, as we “await” their fulfillment.  Rather, that we give our lives to their manifestation.  (Often that process is begun by revealing our highest vision to one another, as Lundquist is encouraging folks to do.)

Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale

Unitarian Universalist Church of Verdugo Hills, La Crescenta

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