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Reasons to Hope: Birthday Reflections, Growing up with Hope as a Plot Twist

Photo: Josh Applegate

I was born on Easter Sunday. My 25-year old dad was so thrilled at the arrival of his first child, that he skipped breakfast, opting instead to swallow six raw eggs on his way out the door to the hospital. An old family friend who happened to be a Country Music Hall of Famer announced my birth in deep baritone on the radio, “Katy Hope. Sounds like a ship coming in.” Photos of my mom holding me in her arms for the first time still make me cry. 

Growing up with Hope as your middle name has a singular effect. It’s like somewhere inside you there’s a light that you can’t turn off, and most days it’s no big deal, but when the power goes out or times get tough, you’re glowing from within and it’s inexplicable. There really is a flame that never goes out. And that flame can illuminate an entire room when it’s dark enough. 

I don’t know if hope came naturally or if it started with the good people at our country church adding me last minute to their Easter service, right there with The Resurrection and The Life. Maybe it was my grandmother planting an Easter lily that same day, so I could grow old enough to see it return every spring. Maybe hope was the product of being loved so much by so many people so early on, that even when it seemed like those people were falling apart, I had faith that love would hold us together, even if it was all we had. Love would have to be enough. That faith in love must be what hope is. 

Throughout my brooding twenties, as an artist finding my voice in the fog of Emerald City, I still couldn’t help but hope. One of the first music producers I worked with said something I think about to this day: “Your songs are full of melancholy, but even though they’re sad and dark, there’s always a twist; there’s hope at the end.” 

I believe that. I believe in every song, in every story, there’s hope to be found and I’ve spent my whole life looking for it in all of its confounding and surprising forms. In the slow transformation from the best of times to the worst of times and back again, hope is the constant. Hope is the everlasting arms holding us long after we’ve grown and our mothers have died and our babies are crying for love. 

Being born on Easter, I’ve thought a lot about what is said to have occurred that first Easter morning. In all its variations, Jesus of Nazareth got up and left his tomb. How’s that for a plot twist? There’s hope at the end. 

Writing the Book of Hope 

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