Sending Hope from Upstate New York

Two seagulls on a rock
Two seagulls standing on a rock surrounded by water. Image courtesy of Rick Wunderle via Pixabay.

Hope can be a challenge to find. What brings hope into your life now?


We have left the ocean behind and are currently visiting family in Upstate New York. I was thinking about how restorative visiting the ocean is for me, and I remembered this poem from Barefoot Theology.  It tells of a moment when I found hope in the wind and waves and the sound of the gulls.

What brings you hope these days? How are you sharing that hope with others?

Morgan the Dog plays with a llama
Morgan the Dog is trying to herd Bandit, a free range llama who lives with Pastor Rachael’s family in Upstate New York.


Remembering Sandy Hook—December 14, 2012

I watch the sun rise on cold ocean shore.
Brilliant scarlet streaks across the horizon
as if light has been cut away from darkness.

Waves, winds, and the cries of gulls
break the turbulent silence of my thoughts.
Restless and grieving, sleepless and yearning,
I wait for a new day.

I cannot make sense of the senseless—
war, violence and gunshots echoing endlessly.
Innocents slaughtered. Politicians ranting.
People divided. This is not good enough,
not nearly good enough.

Into the wind I scream the names of God I know
Jesus! Allah! Adoni! Vishna! and a thousand more…
Can You not hear? Do You not know? Do something!

As I stand breathless in anger,
the sun bursts out of the red-tinted night
lighting an unexpected moment of stillness.

Waves, wind, and gulls whisper words I know—
Peace! Salam! Shalom! Shanti! and thousands more.

In the light of morning I know the truth—
My hands, my heart, my life are needed
to bring Sacred Love into a shattered world.

After a night of wrestling,
I go limping into the day
with hope reborn.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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6 thoughts on “Sending Hope from Upstate New York”

  1. I have become “goal oriented” these days. How to balance my personal goals with my current life situation. Retirement, travel, family…all play a role in my choices. I do realize that I need to attend to my personal goals and make them happen.
    My version of God plays an important role in helping me discern what is right for me.
    My head & heart keeps telling me not to wait!

  2. Rachael, your poem is breath-taking! Wow! I breathe more deeply in these minutes since I read it.

    What gives me hope:

    Watching the movie, Red, White and Royal Blue, a romantic story about two men falling in love.

    Accepting my challenges with ADD without complaining. Asking God for help in the moment and receiving it.


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