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Walking with Hope
By Julia Pomerenk ’83
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.
Julia Pomerenk ’83 and her dog,
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
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
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.
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
I am glad to have the hope of that
song in my heart.
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
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
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