Hope imagined

Hope imagined

Don’t take this literally.  I’ve never been there, never witnessed it.   It was shared with me second hand.  But it is as real in my imagination as if I were there.

Maybe more.

Here’s what I see.

A large resort in South Florida.  The hotel holds nearly 1,000 guests.  Two large pools rim an oceanside beach with pale white sand dotted by bright-blue umbrellas.

It is a Friday afternoon in summer, a time when many young people can get away from their homes, schools or jobs for the weekend.

And they do.

Some 900 pour into the resort for three days of talks, meetings, small gatherings, and friendship,

This is a conclave of young people, most in their 20s and 30s, – every one of them in recovery from drugs and alcohol – who gather to celebrate recovery. They come from all over Florida, nearby states and as far away as ties with someone they know who beckons them to attend.  They come to learn more about recovery in a reunion – of sorts – hosted by their peers, some elders, and planned for a year.

What I hear is laughter, lots of it…

Shrieks of joy as they recognize long-missing friends.  Raucous jokes, foul language, and soft chatter. With closed eyes I see them hugging one another – so many hugs! – and their faces lit with the pure joy of being together.

There is no trace of wine or beer.  There is only the exuberance of young people freed from the nightmare of addiction, buoying one another, applauding the weeks, months or years each celebrates sobriety.

Similar events take place all year long across the country – not just in my imagination.  Dozens, hundreds, thousands of young men and women celebrating their achievement, unaware how much their joy sparks ours.

And even if this were only imagined, isn’t it reason for hope?

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