You Have to Pick Your Team
‘Every day presents infinite reasons to believe that change can’t happen, infinite reasons to give up. But I always tell myself, “Sonya, you have to pick your team.” It seems to me that there are two teams in this world. And that you can find evidence to support the arguments of both. The trademark of one team is cynicism. They’ll tell you why what you’re doing doesn’t matter, why nothing is going to change, why no matter how hard you work, you’re going to fail. They seem to get satisfaction out of explaining how we’ll always have injustice. You can’t change human nature, they say. It’s foolish to try. From their experience, they might be right.
Then there’s another group of people who admit that they don’t know how things will turn out, buy have decided to work for change. I see Martin Luther King on that team, Alice Walker, Howard Zinn. I see my chaplain from college and my activist friends. They’re always telling stories of faith being rewarded, of ways things could be different, of how their own lives have changed. They’ll give you reasons why you shouldn’t give up, testimonials why we’ve yet to see our full potential as a species. They believe we’re partners in God’s creation, and that change is really possible.
There are times when both teams seem right. Both have evidence. We’ll never know who’s really going to prevail. So I just have to decide which team seems happier, which side I’d rather be on. And for me that means choosing the side of faith. Because on the side of cynicism. Even if they’re right, who wants to win that argument anyway. If I’m going to stick with somebody, I’d rather stick with people who have a sense of possibility and hope. I just know that’s the side I want to be on.’
This excerpt reminds me of what meaningful participation is all about. And when times are tough and the news is depressing I remind myself what team I’m on. I hope the above words give you as much solice as they gave me. Hope is a verb not a noun.