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Hopes for 2004

First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City
December 28, 2003

At the invitation of our minister, Tom Goldsmith, Markus and a few other members of the congregation shared their hopes for 2004. Markus read the below text as part of the service on the last Sunday of 2003. Ann and Norm Craig, visiting from Oberlin, were present with Mary for this thoughtful and stirring moment of sharing.

My Hopes for 2004
--Markus Vodosek

I like to think of hope or the activity of "hoping" as what the psychologist Karl Weick calls "Future perfect thinking": Thinking of events that will have happened, treating future events as if they are already over and done.

"Future perfect thinking" makes it easier to think about the steps that we need to take to make the actual event happen. Why is that so? Because "Future perfect thinking" evokes past feelings as well as past thoughts and memories of past behavior that are similar or related to the experience that we imagine in the future perfect tense.

Let me give you an example for "Future perfect thinking":

Imagine your holiday letter for the year 2004. What does it include that you will have done one year from now? What does it include that will have happened between now and December 2004?

Here is some of my personal "Future perfect thinking" for the Year 2004. My hopes, my hoping for 2004.

In December of 2004, my son Simon, who will be 7 years old, will have undergone treatments for his cancer that is likely to have cured him. Although the treatments will have been painful, exhausting, nauseating, and boring for him, and although he will not have been able to see his friends or to go to school for weeks or even months, he will have emerged from the treatments with his body and spirit intact and his cancer gone.

We as a family will have survived the ordeal through humor and other joys of life such as playing with our friends and favorite toys, listening to and making music, yoga, skiing, running, hiking, reading, learning, teaching, sex, watching movies, having good conversations, and eating good food.

We will have made it through the ordeal through the caring of nurses, doctors, other health care professionals, and social workers. We will have been supported by our extended family and friends and teachers.

We will have experienced the compassion and help from institutions and the people who work in them who will have allowed us to cut corners and who will have provided us with their generosity.

In December of 2004, when Simon will be 7 years old, we will have undergone treatments for Simon's cancer that is likely to have cured him.

Now let me give you some of my "Future perfect thinking" that extends beyond my own little world:

In December of 2004, we will have elected a different president. It will not have been easy because the on-going trial of Saddam Hussein will have unearthed a lot of evidence why ending the reign of the brutal Iraqi ex-leader with military force seemed a moral obligation. However, a number of scandals, including evidence that the Bush administration intentionally misled US voters on a number of issues and squandered the nation's resources will have given Bush's Democratic opponent the upper hand in the November 2004 elections.

In December of 2004 the Sharon administration in Israel will have lost power and a new centrist administration will have taken over. Yasser Arafat will have let go from his involvement in the Palestinian Authority. Both the new Israeli administration and a new administration of the Palestinian Authority will have made it their objective to implement many of the points in the Geneva peace plan.

In December of 2004, Iraq will have built the foundation for the reconciliation of its people with each other, with its neighbors, and the U.S.

In December of 2004, this church will have found a new leader for its religious education program. Someone with vision, experience, and energy.

In December of 2004, all of us will have written a holiday letter that required little more than changing the tenses of the future perfect letter we wrote in December of 2003 to the past tense and perfect tense.

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