Coping with hope and hoping to cope

hr_0729_387_728__0729387728007Rainbow, meet my aunt Carolyn from Chicago. Carolyn and her husband Bob have been cheering me/us on from day one, hoping that we will thrive as a community of faith.

One way I feel Carolyn’s good cheer is through her Cope with Hope postcard series that is currently on display in the church office.


Carolyn, a skilled photographer, started this Cope with Hope postcard series soon after her husband was diagnosed with leukemia, a diagnosis that shook them/us to the core. Jesse and I were living in Chicago at that time and so I spent some nights with her while Bob was in the hospital. Thankfully Bob was the recipient of a stem cell transplant and is now running half marathons. And thankfully Carolyn continues to cope with core-shaking life realities by creating these fun, whimsical, sometimes strange hope-filled cards. She takes her camera everywhere looking for ways hope is being manifested, expressed or yearned for. Yes, that’s Carolyn in a red jumpsuit! (I remember receiving a similar postcard from her when I was a little girl. It was a picture of her sun-bathing on top of her Chicago apartment roof in the middle of a snow storm. Yeah, she’s cool like that.)

These photos and the quotes that often accompany them remind me that beauty and hope can spring forth in surprising places and ways. The question is will we be ready to notice and receive these gifts or will they pass by without our awareness? Skilled photographers like my aunt Carolyn inspire me to keep on the look out for expressions of hope, whether they be whimsical, absurd, strange and/or beautiful!. She reminds me to look for the contours of Divine Presence even in the midst of ever-present sadness, disappointment, violence and trauma.

And so these images will remain in the church office for a time. Feel free to come and take a look! Better yet, please share the images and words that help you cope with hope.

If you would like to order some cards or postcards from Carolyn, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with her.





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