Monday, March 12, 2007

Hopes From Bentley Farm Part I

Perhaps because spring is dawning, or perhaps because the time change made the day seem longer, or perhaps because the windows are beginning to open and disperse the long-contained winter air, we here at Bentley have been talking a lot about hope recently. Hope is a gift of new-found life and expectancy. It is a blended mix of waiting, of longing, of trusting, of focusing, of praying, of releasing and of finding fulfillment. Without hope, life is without meaning. With hope, living is purposeful, time is hallowed, and prayer is earnest.

What is it that we hope for? We have been answering this question in our conversations of late. I think that we have strong unity of hope between family members, but there is definitely variation on the theme. The theme? Our deepest and most abiding hope, as Mom so accurately says, is for the reign of Christ and for the triumph of good over evil.

What does this translate into for our lives?

The conversation this evening began with Jacob. Jacob hopes to live at Bentley Farm for the entirety of his life. “I haven’t found a place that is more interesting than it is here,” he said. He hopes to graduate from college, although he said that he doesn’t think about college too much at his age. He certainly does think about his farther-ranging goals, though, and often looks forward to becoming a lawyer so that he can practice law with Dad in Poughkeepsie. Dad and Jacob have a hope of opening a law firm to represent the poor. They have already borrowed the motto, Pro Deo, for their law practice from Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country. When he’s not practicing law or worrying about graduating from college, Jacob hopes to find a wife. “That can be hard,” he said. He would like to have his own family, but he adds (with his classic eye smile), “I think no more than twelve kids!”

While I must admit that when I am asked about my hopes, I typically think of dreams that in some way include me, Mom has a very special gift of hoping for other people. Knowing the power of the hope of God in her own life, one of Mom’s greatest hopes is that people who are without hope will find hope. She especially cares for those whose marriages have been wounded and broken, and daily prays for the restoration of these marital unions. When thinking of her future, Mom cherishes the hope of grandchildren. She speaks often of running an annual “Cousins Camp” for the grandchildren to experience the joys of life together in the great outdoors.

Rebecca is hopeful that she will one day be a nurse for children. Since one of Luke’s goals is to become a pediatrician, she and Luke often dream of working together. In the meantime, Rebecca said that she would like to be a blessing to others, which she does quite joyfully already. And, in Rebecca’s words, “I would like to have kids one day.”