I remember, with deep fondness, the poster that is the featured image on this post. I understand that the man who is the subject of the poster was imperfect, but no more than the rest of us.
What I know, to the core of my being, is that he believed in the power of hope. Not a false hope based on lies or willful ignorance of fact, but in the hope that comes from being able to both acknowledge the uncomfortable realities of the moment while still seeing the larger picture, the long game, the hope-filled direction of the “arc of justice”.
That is the hope we must strive for. Not a powerless hope, as in “I hope it doesn’t rain today”; or a hope for things beyond our control, as in “I hope I’m tall when I grow up.”; but a hope in, and for, things that we can affect and be a part of.
When we, as IT practitioners, say “I hope the server doesn’t crash over the weekend.”, it should be said with the knowledge that we’ve done everything we can to ensure it won’t, and that when indicators appear BEFORE the crash, we find out about it so we can avert disaster.
Here in the month of Elul, as in the rest of our lives, we aren’t foolish to hope. We aren’t naieve. We aren’t millennial snowflakes demanding a participation award. Our expression of hope should be as much a commitment to seeing that hope become a reality as it is a statement of the world in which we want to live.