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


21 Responses to “Hoping on”

  1. Bill Says:

    Beautiful post. It’s important, I think, that we cultivate hope. It seems to easy to get caught up in pessimism and negative thinking. It seems I constantly hear good people complaining about how things are all going downhill, culture is deteriorating, violence is increasing, etc etc. The glass is always half empty, or less. We seem to expect the worst and treat it as normal. Even when we say we have hope, we often mean that we’re hopeful but not optimistic. We want something good to happen, but we don’t really expect it. The antidote to all this I think is cheerful hope, trust in the goodness of humanity, an expectation that things are going to continue to improve. We live in the best times humanity as ever known (even though our guts and intuition rebel against that fact). There is less poverty, less ignorance, less violence, less hunger, less human suffering, than at any time before in recorded human history. We not only should have hope, it’s justified! Now having said all that, I admit I can be as bad as anyone else. I read the news too and the only thing that makes the headlines is bad news–things that are newsworthy because they are rare. For every story like that there are thousands, maybe millions, of acts of kindness. Good reasons for hope.

    • Bill, thank you kindly for your thoughtful response to my post. You’ve given me additional material to ponder. I especially like your assessment that we need “cheerful hope.” Thank you for the gift of your words today.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    A life without hope (of some type) cannot/will not be able to ‘be’. If one were to peel back the layers of frustration, hurt, loss, sadness, loneliness, defeat, darkness and not find even a nugget/mustard seed of hope then that “life” would cease. It would possibly be a situation of failure to even acknowledge even the possibility that such a nugget/seed could still exist. On the surface, these days may be ones beyond hope of reversal………but the choice to place one’s hope in the One Who holds the universe in the palm of His hand is a ‘sure thing’ and transcends human solutions and allows us to rise up above what appears to be hopeless.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    Imagine all the letters written to and from ‘the old country’ and ‘back east’ to a place called Hope.

  4. Hoping with you, my friend!

  5. Hope is a POWERFUL Word! I offer hope to my greatest someones through my love, caring and support. I hold onto hope for myself and my greatest someones, especially in going for our wants and needs as well as dreams and desires. Hope is the one thing I can rely on each and every day to get me through my day in a good and positive as well as healthy and happy manner. Beautiful Reminder to NEVER GIVE UP HOPE – Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  6. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Lovely post. For me, hope takes two forms: meditation (what others might call prayer) and action. Both sides need to exist to take thoughts and do something with them, but hope flounders without the corresponding action. I am a big believer in backing up my words. Hope for things to improve somewhere? Get in there and offer what you have to help. That’s hope in action. Patty Wetterling is amazing.

    • Kathleen, I deeply appreciate your thoughtful comment that “hope flounders without the corresponding action.” I believe that, too. Thank you for specifically emphasizing that.

      I fully agree that Patty Wetterling is amazing.

  7. estremdj Says:

    Love this article!

  8. Hope. Noun or verb?

    VERB))) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lovely post, Audrey.

  9. Sue Ready Says:

    Your posting certainly encouraged readers to pen thoughtful responses. I liked your words….Without support, hope flounders.
    I found it hopeful to know such an organization as Hope Center exists that offers support to victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Great service you do letting people know about this resource. Thank you for the posting.

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