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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Campus

Walking with Hope

By Julia Pomerenk ’83

Julia Pomerenk ’83 and her dog,  Hope
Julia Pomerenk ’83 and her dog, Hope.

I have a dog named Hope. We go for walks every day. She is always eager for her walks, stretching by the window and dancing by the front door. She wiggles and waits for me to attach her leash to her collar. Once we get out the door, I am literally pulled by Hope every day.

There are three other ways that we can be pulled by hope into each new day. Scripture can pull us. So can songs. So can support from our sister and brother believers. Our hope may be so strong that we become as eager for our faith “walks” as my dog Hope is for hers. We may even dance as Hope does.

Scripture
Scripture from the first chapter of 1 Peter an-nounces hope as God’s great merciful gift to us. Verse three states: “By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This hope is the stuff of life and death and resurrection, and you can’t get much stronger than that! This hope is powered by resurrection. And comes with double death-defying visions: new birth and a living hope.

God knows that we are bruised by death, so God gives us a new birth into a living hope. God gives us this gift of hope every day, and as many times a day as we need. We get to begin again. Do over. Grab the gift of a new birth into a living hope.

Song
Every day, hope can pull at us by songs we hear and sing. Do you have songs in your head? Words and tunes that come to you when you need them? Tunes that can carry you? Songs that create for you a new heart and renewed hope?

Ever since I can remember, my family has sung “Children of the Heavenly Father.” We sing the hymn at baptisms, funerals, weddings and even on ordinary days—whenever we want to remember the layered memories of that melody.

One afternoon we hadn’t remembered to sing our song. We had been talking in lowered tones in my Aunt Esther’s kitchen. Esther was in the downstairs bedroom. She was just days away from death. We didn’t feel like singing. Then we heard the voice of Sigi, her pastor, singing our song for Esther, and for us. We heard our suffering and our rejoicing being sung for us. “Though he giveth or he taketh, God his children ne’er forsaketh.”

I am glad to have the hope of that song in my heart.

Support
When I picture the support of the faith community, I see the circle of the faithful gathered at Trin-ity Lutheran Church in Pullman, Wash., and Paul Klavano, a longtime member, giving me hope through hugging.

Paul is an elder of the faith and a giver of bear hugs. With delight and with years of hugging experience, Paul and I prepare for the hug itself, with steps as established as an Olympic athlete’s warm-up. We place ourselves directly in front of each other and stretch out our arms to be sure to have sufficient space for full arm extension. Then Paul rubs his hands in anticipation, and the hug commences. Paul all but picks me up and off my feet when he hugs me. I hold the feel of a Paul Klavano bear hug in my memory as a strong image of the support I can claim from my brothers and sisters in faith. We’re almost dancing at the front door—we are pulled by hope with a hug.

My hope for us all is that we embrace this gift that God gives us: a new birth into a living hope. May we take the gift, given through mercy and grace, and walk with hope.

When I take my dog Hope for a walk, she pulls on her leash. As she pulls me past people, they often ask: “Who’s walking who?” I usually respond with the expected answer: “She’s walking me.” As I begin again, walking with hope, may I respond with the unexpected answer: “Hope is pulling me.” May hope pull us all.

THIS ESSAY IS BASED ON A CHAPEL ADDRESS DELIVERED SEPTEMBER 25, 2000. JULIA POMERENK IS REGISTRAR AT PLU.


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