Sales at the Saturday Market have been a little flat. I know, the weather's been bad and shopping season doesn't really start until next week. We've kept up with our expenses, but haven't been able to buy stuff to make much soup. I'm delighted that people are loving our products, and I'm discouraged that there are people right across the street who need help, and I'm not helping. Not enough anyway. Not yet.
I have high hopes sometimes. Other times I have what most would call realistic expectations. Realistic is making enough sales to cover our expenses and then also pay for a certain amount of food each month, plus extra kitchen time, so that somebody out there gets a hot meal.
I read yesterday about people who made it big in their later lives. You've heard of them -- Colonel Sanders. Ray Kroc. Grandma Moses. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Julia Child. There are dozens. When I'm feeling particularly optimistic, I imagine having Benefit Brownie shops all over the place. Good coffee, dozens of varieties of brownies and bars, home-made soup, free food to anyone who needs it, and at night, furniture pushed aside and cots brought out for folks who need a safe, dry place to sleep. And jobs -- I want to create lots of jobs.
Reality keeps a lid on most of our wild dreams. The really successful dreamers, though, seem to have a magic screwdriver that allows them to loosen that lid, push it with all their might, and toss it away forever.
One thing they don't talk about a lot, though, is the long, hard journey and what that part feels like. It's exhausting, challenging, risky, painful, lonely, and filled with obstacles. So why do we do it? Because hope overcomes all that. Hope makes all things possible.
Hope for success, hope for a home, hope for our children, hope for peace, hope for government reform, hope for the climate. No matter how big or small our dreams are, if we have hope, we find value in pursuing them. Hope is something we can share with one another, with a kind word, a generous act, a small gift.
I dream of signing in at the market one Saturday soon, and then crossing the street with an ice chest full of breakfast burritos and a big pot of hot coffee. Instead of standing around waiting for an hour for my booth assignment, I meet a couple dozen people, help them warm up, talk to them about the weather, the neighborhood, their plans for the day. Maybe the food and the respect and the smile will help somebody reclaim their hope.
Today I'll make fudge and bake brownies, attach twist ties to little bags until my fingers are numb, and hold my hope front and center. Hope can make miracles happen.