Sharing of Hope

When Henry was born there was a lack of oxygen to his brain that left him mentally deficient. As was common in the day, Henry was institutionalized. He had care givers who provided for his needs, but his life was sterile.

Growing up he became a fan of his state university’s sports teams. When he was given a pocket-sized radio, his life became fuller. And when a class-action lawsuit led him to being released from his institution, he had only one hope: to attend games for his favorite teams.

But Henry was unable to work. He had no place to live or money to buy food. The local community learned about his plight and decided to share in helping Henry fulfill his hopes.

When Henry entered a restaurant, he was seated and fed. He was never given a bill. He lived in the back of a movie theater, rent free. Whenever Henry needed to get to a game, someone would drive him. He was admitted into every game without a ticket. Henry’s hopes became everyone’s.

While Henry stayed by himself at games, everyone had to find Henry before the game started. Looking out for Henry became as much of a game ritual as the national anthem.

When Henry’s health made it necessary for him to live in a nursing home, coaches and athletes would regularly visit him. His room was filled with game balls and photographs.

When Henry passed away, the local sports show announced his passing. The rest of the show was a spontaneous sharing of Henry stories. You could tell that many of the callers were fighting back tears. Henry was loved by the community.

The wonderful thing about hope is that it can be shared with others. Think of the times you have bought something at a local store and there is a collection cannister for a person needed medical treatment funds. Or maybe your community has a gymnastics star who needs funds for a championship trip. Or maybe you have a local young person appearing at the national spelling bee championships.

Sharing hopes can bring us together in ways that few other things can. Isn’t it remarkable that we can come together to share the hopes of another person but can’t seem to come together to find common ground on the issues that divide us?

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“There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless someone has someone to share it with.”- Seneca (Roman philosopher)

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