Grandpa and Elijah’s conversation about love and faith led to further conversation about hope. Like most conversations between a seven-and-a-half month old grandson and a 75 year old grandfather, it’s a bit convoluted.
Grandpa, now that I know all about love and faith, tell me about hope.
I hope you don’t mind my saying so, Elijah, but you’ll never know all about love or faith or hope, but that’s okay. You’ll learn later how little even the oldest people on the planet know.
We’re on a planet?!!!
Yes, we’re on planet Earth.
Wow! Where’s Earth? Will I ever get to go somewhere else?
No, I don’t think so. We’re Earthlings. Earth is our home.
Uh-uh. Edina’s my home! Mom said so. And my daycare’s somewhere else. You’re messing with my brain, Grandpa!
Well, Edina and Chaska aren’t planets. They’re tiny towns on planet Earth in the Milky Way in a vast universe.
Mom loves Milky Ways. I hope someday I can have one. I hope Mom will share one of her Milky Ways when I start eating solids.
Aha! See, you ALREADY know what hope is!
So hope’s like hunger?
Sort of. I hadn’t thought of it as hunger, but I guess it is in a way. Hope is food for the soul. Hope is desire for something you don’t yet have, or for what you haven’t yet become.
Like being able to walk, right?
Yes. Like that. Hope is always ahead of us. We’re always reaching toward it. Hope requires us to crawl rather than run. It’s a slow crawl. It’s hard. It’s the opposite of despair.
Pretty soon I’ll be done with hope! I’ll just need faith and love, right? I’m going to walk pretty soon. I can just feel it in my bones! I’m certain of it. I don’t need hope!
Yes you do, Elijah. You do. You can’t be certain of anything. You could get hit by a car and die before you learn to walk and talk.
That’s mean, Granda! Why’d you say that? So life is cruel. God’s mean! I’m going be an atheist!
Well, you can be, if you want. But atheism is its own kind of certainty. Certainty is the opposite of faith, Elijah, and, like we already talked about, everyone has some kind of faith. And despair is the opposite of hope. Everyone has some kind of faith and hope. Otherwise we’d be in despair. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.”
Yeah, like the planet. We can’t see the planet, right, Granda? We have faith and hope for the planet, right?
Right. Planet Earth is in danger right now, Elijah. I want you to grow up on the good green Earth the way I did, and I’m sad because I’m afraid you won’t. The Milky Way’s not in danger, but Earth is.
Yeah! I sure hope Mom drives carefully on the way to daycare! I’ll tell her to leave her Milky Ways in tiny Edina. Otherwise Earth might get eaten up!
— Gordon C. Stewart (Grandpa), Chaska, MN, January 13, 2018.