“Hope is nurtured by celebrations”, Ed Lamonte.
Ed and his wife Ruth, an Episcopal minister and retired UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) professor have agreed to find one thing each day that gives them cause for celebration. He also gets up early enough each morning to have about an hour to, among other things, think about the day to come and how to make it meaningful. He says this is his remedy for maintaining a hopeful presence in life.
Though I have known about him, I had never met Ed until the day we sat down in the Southern History room of the Birmingham Public Library to talk about Hope. He is father to four children, a teacher, chief of staff to the former mayor of Birmingham Richard Arrington and an author. His career is too long and diverse to recount in this small space, but suffice it to say he is talented and well respected. I was honored that he agreed to talk with me.
Ed has given this Hope concept some deliberate thought. After we get through the preliminary chit-chat, he suggests:
“Hope is an attitude that allows you to believe that things can be better in the future. With care and some action, things can and will be better. This is not like fruit falling off a tree, it requires some attention, and if nurtured will be realized.”
We talk about the culture that promotes the over-worn cliche, “when the going gets tough the tough get going, and you just better suck it up”. Ed says:
“I am utterly convinced that there are times when people simply cannot do that. It is important to me to say, hey…I am in a really tough spot now, I am broken in an important way and I am not able to put it all back together by myself. We need to be ready to say we need help. It can be a conversation with a friend. It doesn’t have to be an extended therapeutic relationship with a professional, but there needs to be an avenue of getting outside yourself and having another pair of eyes and ears, or another spirit, responding to you”.
He tells me the pressures of life, work and the larger external issues of chaos, misery, pain and suffering in the world can be so overwhelming this can often create serious depression. When people are depressed, they feel hopeless and ask what is the point in life. He responds from personal experience:
“Working out of those periods of depression, has confronted me with the need in my own life to build in antidepressants that are not medications. Cultivating, as best I can in my way, a strong sense of Hope has proven to be one of the real keys to having a much much happier, and I think more productive life.”
Ed reiterates his understanding that it takes effort and deliberation to be hopeful. It is an active Hope, and is his direct appreciation of what happens when one is mindfully conscious of nurturing a hopeful attitude.
Well, here’s to the mindful celebration of Hope in a challenging world.