There was a moment today when I felt unstuck from time. I couldn’t remember when it was that I headed for home with no idea when I would be back in my office again. You probably have your own version of such a moment. I wish that momentary disorientation were all that anyone had to contend with right now.
As we focus on the need today, at the WHC we’re seeking ways to bring additional assistance to you, and to everyone we can possibly reach.
To help major grant applicants, we have extended the upcoming deadline to April 24 and reduced our request for paper copies. There are also changes to May 1 mini grant submissions. So if you are applying at either of these deadlines, please read these important instructions.
And if you’d like to be part of using the humanities to help in these hard times, I have an invitation for you. Think about a book that changed your life, and answer any of these prompts:
- Book Title:
- Tell us a little about what was going on in your life when you read the book.
- Were there messages or characters or scenes in the book that really moved you?
- Did this book somehow change you? Impact your choices? Influence the way you see things?
- What made this book different for you?
- Why would you recommend that others read this book?
I’d love to hear from you, and I might ask you whether I can share your thoughts with our humanities community.
Be well. Stay in touch. Find comfort in the connections we are sustaining with one another. And be sure to read the Love Wisconsin story next week—we promise it will make you smile!
Faith, HOPE, and Love.
An essay shared by Jan Larson, WHC board member and chair of the Department of Journalism and Communication at UW-Eau Claire.
Today is my birthday. I could joke and claim the whole of Wisconsin shut down in celebration. Dancing in the streets to follow. But that wouldn’t be true. #SaferatHome.
Instead, I’ll tell you that I woke with a singular word rolling around in my head: Hope. I’ve been thinking about that word a lot lately. I even looked it up. To be sure. To remind myself. So I could hold its meaning in the close of my hand.
Hope — Expectation.
Hope did not come at my bidding. A friend and colleague had placed it like a farmer planting a seed. The head of a local writing group (and much more), he challenged his neighbors to use this time of unexpected slowness to share stories of hope. He did it to encourage community. He’s like that.
As I lay in bed unwilling to acknowledge the white gray sky and the dirt-flecked snow of March receding into the pine trees that line our property, I glanced up and smiled. Above our bedroom closet, I had as a young mother stenciled three clusters of pansies in shades of blue, yellow, violet and red – one bouquet for each of the three children I didn’t know we’d have but for whom we hoped. The stenciled art was an attempt to remind me of the spring that would follow the long Wisconsin winters. I don’t often remember they are there, but today, they greeted me with the promise of spring.
These delicate flowers made me hope for more than the blooms that spring invariably brings. I hope for, I expect, a time when the distance will fade and the virtual hugs we send our now young adult children will be replaced with open arms and heads nestled close to our hearts.
Hope. It’s a word that works well with others. I can’t think of hope without bumping into Faith. And, Love.
Like the ivy that twists its way through the pansies on my wall these words are linked. They are my heritage. The legacy from my pastor father who spent his adult life tramping through cotton fields among migrant farmworkers and later city barrios to proclaim hope.
My mother, an equal partner, his confidante and counselor had a depth of faith that sustained her in her middle years and beyond when she struggled with illness that threatened and sometimes succeeded in severing her hold on reality.
Faith: Complete trust or confidence
After my parents died in a car accident some years ago, one of my siblings sent me the Bibles they had carried with them. My mother’s constant companion sat by my nightstand for more than a year before I could bring myself to open it. When I unzipped the fabric cover, bits of twig and leaves – remnants of the crash that had somehow worked their way into cracks and crevices — fell from its pages.
The inside front covers bore her beautiful, precise handwriting and a long list of favored verses — verses of faith, hope and love. Verses that she shared with me as a child when others ridiculed and rejected me. As I re-read them, I was reminded of the hope, of the expectation, that someday, there would be love.
Love…well, we recognize it when see it.
I found that love in the eyes of man who has been my partner, confidante, counselor and friend for more than 30 years. His love is more than a feeling. It is a choice, a daily act on his part to be that person who loves me unconditionally.
As I face the final year of my fifth decade, a time of great uncertainty for the entire planet, I am able to draw on a lifetime of Faith…certain belief. Hope…expectation. And love…the greatest of these.
Together, they will allow me to weather the storm that has engulfed us all.
I hope the same for you.