Plant myself at the gates of Hope


I have a friend who traffics in words. She is not a minister, but a psychiatrist in the health clinic at a prestigious women’s college. We were sitting once not long after a student she had known, and counseled, committed suicide in the dormitory there. My friend, the doctor, the healer, held the loss very closely in those first few days, not unprofessionally, but deeply, fully — as you or I would have, had this been someone in our care.

At one point (with tears streaming down her face), she looked up in defiance (this is the only word for it) and spoke explicitly of her vocation, as if out of the ashes of that day she were renewing a vow or making a new covenant (and I think she was). She spoke explicitly of her vocation, and of yours and mine. She said, “You know I cannot save them. I am not here to save anybody or to save the world. All I can do — what I am called to do — is to plant myself at the gates of Hope. Sometimes they come in; sometimes they walk by. But I stand there every day and I call out till my lungs are sore with calling, and beckon and urge them in toward beautiful life and love…

There’s something for all of us there, I think. Whatever our vocation, we stand, beckoning and calling, singing and shouting, planted at the gates of Hope. This world and our people are beautiful and broken, and we are called to raise that up — to bear witness to the possibility of living with the dignity, bravery, and gladness that befits a human being. That may be what it is to “live our mission.”

~ Victoria Safford, excerpt from “The Small Work in the Great Work



  1. Is there a higher purpose? Somehow I don’t think so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • None. Period.


    • And here’s one other excerpt that left a mark on me:

      “Well, courage yes. And certainly imagination. But there was more. . . . ” They will tell us that once you have glimpsed the world as it might be, as it ought to be, as it’s going to be (however that vision appears to you), it is impossible to live compliant and complacent anymore in the world as it is. To march was a dangerous risk— but not to was a risk of another kind— of living half-dead, with no name, unremembered, in the dark , surviving on scraps and crumbs and the outright threats and pious ultimatums of the hate-filled present moment. Why not risk all that, and walk out into the sun in the summer and walk around in the world as it ought to be, thereby bringing it to bear? Why not march and carry on, act out, act up, as if your life depended on it? (Bishop John Shelby Spong calls it “solar ethics”— to commit to living as the very sun itself lives, that is, to do what you were created to do, to shine and shine without regard for recognition or permanence or reward, to love and simply be for the sake of loving and living and being.)

      ~ Victoria Safford

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great reminder to us all. Thanks David. We can all make a difference when we come from a place of care and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an image…planting oneself at the gates of hope and calling out til her lungs are sore. Moved.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very deep and moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. this is so well said and very true –

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Magnificent post. Utterly magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And know when to let go…..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I ran across this last week. It kinda blew me away.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: