Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hoping on November 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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My great niece Kiera painted this stone, which I got at a recent family reunion.

My great niece Kiera painted this stone, which sits on my office desk as a reminder of hope.


Thank you, Patty Wetterling, for reminding me of that when you spoke to the media this week. For 26 years, Patty and her husband, Jerry, and their family, plus an entire nation, have hoped for the safe return of their son, Jacob. The 11-year-old was abducted in October 1989 by a masked gunman near their St. Joseph, Minnesota, home. Last week law enforcement named a “person of interest” in the case.

Inspirational quotes posted on my desk, on the shelf above my desktop screen.

Inspirational quotes posted on my office desk include a quote by poet Emily Dickinson, right.

In January, I chose “hope” as my word for 2015, following the example of my sweet friend Beth Ann, who blogs at It’s Just Life.

Pulling out my thesaurus, I find these synonyms for the verb, hope: aim, intend, plan, have it in mind, aspire, expect, look for, wish for, want.

To that list I might add trusting, believing that things will get better.

Hope can be elusive when the stresses and challenges of life overwhelm. It is easy to lose hope if difficult situations persist, when burdens weigh heavy upon your heart and days.

But then I hear statements like “Hope is a verb,” spoken by a mother who long ago had every reason to give up hope. Yet, Patty Wetterling has endured, taken action and continued to hope for answers in the disappearance of her son.

During their statement to the media this week, the Wetterlings emphasized the importance of the community in sharing information to help solve the case. Community. The community of Minnesota and beyond has supported the Wetterlings through this entire horrible ordeal spanning more than a quarter of a century.


Hope logo


Support is essential. Without support, hope flounders. Locally, I need only consider Hope Center, which helps and supports victims/survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. There’s that word, hope, centering the Center’s name.

We all need family and friends who have our backs during difficult times—listening, encouraging, praying for, being there without judging or thinking they have all the answers or putting the focus on themselves rather than your needs.

Songs of Hope performers present a selection from India.

Songs of Hope performers present a selection from India during a summer concert at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2014.

A year ago, I heard hope during a concert by Songs of Hope, a group of students from a St. Paul-based international performing arts summer camp. These singers from around the world performed with the enthusiasm of youth believing that world peace is possible. Their energy and passion showcased hope. Such positivity inspires hope.

Take in the details: the red and blue bench, the double front doors, the rock out front...

The Hope Post Office has closed since I took this photo several years ago.

In southern Minnesota, just off Interstate 35 south of Owatonna, you’ll find a small town named Hope. A place. A proper noun, not a verb.

Hope. Noun or verb. It’s a powerful word, if only we believe it to be. You can offer hope to others by listening, by giving of your time and talents and financial resources, by caring, by showing compassion, by simply being there. Hold a confidence entrusted to you. Check in with someone facing a difficult situation. Care. Emulate hope.

TELL ME, how do you offer hope or hold onto hope?

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling