Every year around this time, my spouse Charlie brings home a booklet of art that has been created by the detainees he works with on Riker’s Island. Contributions include visual art, poems, short stories and—this year—a one-act play. The subject matter varies, but all the artistic expressions usually have something to do with either endurance, transcendence, or both.
This year’s volume is titled Creating Within: Art from Rikers and the NYC Health + Hospitals Art Collection. The picture above is from the back inside cover of the collection. It was created by Keith A., who writes, “all we need is a drop of hope.” Within the drop of hope coming out of the dropper, you can see that he includes the words “freedom, friends, support, home, job, family, love.”
Each of our lists might be different, but this is a pretty succinct summary of elements in life that engender hope. Each category listed assumes the connections with others that raise us up and nurture us. And, when any of these elements is in short supply, our faith sustains us as we seek replenishment.
At the top of the illustration, Keith A. writes, “this is a universal cure for all nations to find world peace.” Not wrong—and sometimes a truth so distant that it seems inaccessible. Still, we are entering the season of Advent, a time when we insist on light shining out into the dark void; when we make way for the inbreaking of hope made visible in the world.
How will the season of Advent magnify your experience of hope this year? How will you bring that experience of hope to a world that needs it so desperately? Even if world peace is beyond any one of us alone, together we can activate the hope available to us always, and everywhere.