Thursday, November 09, 2006

Carnival of Hope: Volume 1, Number 3

Welcome to the November Carnival of Hope! In honor of Thanksgiving, this month's theme is gratitude.

Many of our contributors this month have written about how hope and gratitude can result from a shift in perspective. In a moving post about his -- and others' -- response to September 11, 2001, Daniel Brenton writes about Gratitude: An American Path and invites us to join him in a "conspiracy of gratitude." This conspiracy begins with focusing on what we have, rather than on what we want. John Olsen uses a similar contrast of attitudes to find the bright side of a painful and poignant family situation in Perspective. John, I'm sure these children are very grateful for what you and your wife have done for them!

It's easy to find gratitude in a story of family generosity; many of us would be hard-pressed, however, to change our perspective if we were suffering from a painful injury. In What Defines You? Hueina Su tells us how the enforced meditation of physical therapy led her to a choice not to define herself by her chronic pain. And on a lighter note, Joe Donnachie chooses to exult in conditions others would find miserable in The Joy Of Rain. As someone who lives in the driest state of the country, I can really relate to this one; when it rains in Nevada, the locals rejoice!

Sometimes changes in perspective are relatively easy, a matter of making a conscious choice to see something differently. But often the process is more difficult: sometimes the only way out is through, and sometimes we can only find our way through the darkness by facing it head on, even though it terrifies us. John Hill shares a story of a childhood friend who did just that in How Facing An Old Fear Changed Her Life. And DisappearingJohn rejoices in closeknit family, renewed health, financial stability, and career fulfillment -- the triumphant end of a very long road -- in the joyous post What a Great Place! What a great post!

Long journeys begin with small steps. New Orleans residents have begun to rebuild after the devastation of Katrina, and Tracy Coenen shares visual evidence of this healing by showing us More pictures of post-hurricane New Orleans. Good things are happening farther north, too. In A Step in the Right Direction!, my friend Lee celebrates the election of a Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison of Minnesota. I agree with her that this is a welcome step towards increasing American political diversity.

Since it's the eve of Veteran's Day, it seems only fitting to express gratitude to those who serve their country, and who so often pay a very high price for doing so. My own post Making Peace With God tells the story of two men who found healing from the trauma of war by following paths of peace. I hope this story will inspire others to use them as role models. And on that note, Erek Ostrowski offers a very useful distinction between Heroes and Role Models. Whereas the so-called heroes of literature or action-adventure films often make us feel inadequate, Erek says, "Real heroes are people who help us see our own strengths."

May all of you find strength, hope, and peace during the upcoming holidays!


  1. Susan --

    Thank you for including "Gratitude: An American Path" in this installment of the Carnival of Hope. When I submitted this, frankly I wondered if it was close enough to your central topic that you would even consider it, and the level of craft you work to is so high I wondered if I was completely out of my league. And (lo! and behold) here it is the kickoff item.

    (Okay. I'll stop gushing.)

    Truly, thank you.


  2. You're welcome, Daniel, and thanks for the lovely compliment about my level of craft!


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