My Father Taught Me About Hope

It is my father, Walter Dudycz’s birthday today. These past few weeks I have been thinking about a lot about what he taught me about hope. (In Ukrainian the word is надія….also my sister’s name.) I can see how hope shaped my father’s life, and his example of hope has shaped who I am.

When I was a teenager, I thought that I was just an optimist; but the older I got, the more I realized that was not true. Optimism is not the same as hope. Optimists expect good things to happen.

I’m actually not an optimist. What I am is hopeful. I was taught by my father that hope is the belief that when the bad things happen, you can work together to overcome those things.

That idea and all its parts have shaped everything for me:
It implies awareness that bad things that have happened and will happen.
It calls out that hope requires action.
It also implies that hope can be shared. Hope in community is powerful.
And at its heart, hope is a belief. For my father and for me, belief implies the mystery of something greater than us in the Universe. That belief means that hope and prayer are interconnected.

From my father, I also learned:
We need to keep practicing hope, or we can lose it. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes.
The memory of hope can help us to rediscover it.
Hope is a tool. We take it, and we do things with it. We need hope to make changes in the world.
Sometimes those changes take a long time. Hope can come in tiny steps.
Stories and songs about hope help it to grow and spread.
When we share hope, it gets stronger.

I thought about this when I was at one of the rallies in support of Ukraine last weekend. I saw that hope in my father’s eyes, and on the faces of the people around us holding signs and chanting, as well those passersby who honked and waved.

Someone asked me why we go to rallies, what good does it do? I think I have a better answer for them now after thinking about it.

The answer is hope.

Happy Birthday, Tato

(Photo by 8 Eyes Photography)

Father’s Day

Just got home from a lovely BBQ at my parents’ house, with a nice long chat over coffee. I love these chats. As a young person, we had many meaningful chats over coffee, usually on the heels of a heated disagreement or debate. As I got older, the debates became fewer in number, but fortunately we maintained the coffee conversations. I’m so grateful.

It’s Father’s Day, and I am blessed to have many father-figures and mentors in my life starting with my father, who continues to teach by example: to live a life of integrity, to stand up for what I believe in, to value the importance of family and friends, to be true to myself no matter what others may say, to honor the elders and take joy in the children, to stay connected to roots even as we reach for the stars.

Coffee with my father, Walter W. Dudycz (Photo by 8 Eyes Photography)

Thank you to the men in my life who have taught me invaluable lessons, inspired me to be more than I am, believed in me and encouraged me.

Some are still a part of my circle, others have passed on. I am better for having known you, and I am grateful.

Happy Father’s Day.