Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Be a Vehicle of Hope for Others
Reflecting on the hope you can offer

by Mary Susan Buhner

April 01, 2012

Just a few months ago I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Super Baskets of Hope event during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The purpose of the event was to assemble 7,000 baskets filled with 250,000 donated items to patients in children's hospitals in each of the NFL's 32 cities. It was amazing watching over 1,000 volunteers gather together on the floor of Banker's Life Fieldhouse working seamlessly together for this cause. I felt humbled, in awe and inspired to be a small part of this amazing effort.

I was moved beyond words when Tony Dungy, the national spokesperson for the Basket of Hope program, spoke to the group of volunteers and committee members. The message he gave was nothing short of inspiring. He talked about how the baskets being delivered to children in hospitals were not only to bring a smile to a sick child's face, but also meant to be a vehicle of hope to them. I felt tears start to form in my eyes. My heart started to race and I had a lump in my throat. Hope.

The 1,000 volunteers placing coloring books, toys and games in the baskets are not only packing fun things for them to do while in their hospital rooms, but more importantly, packaging hope. I was moved. I still am. I think about those words almost every day since my volunteer experience. I think about what am I doing to be a vehicle of hope to others. My own children, my husband, my mom, my neighbors, my community as a whole?

Christopher Reeve once said, “Once you choose hope, anything's possible.” This got me thinking about not only the power of hope, but what role I could play in offering it to others on a regular basis. I realized that as moms, a lot of the time, we have to manage the daily chaos in order for our family to function. Making lunches, driving carpool, doing laundry (which I never seem to be caught up on). We are out putting so much energy to keep everything moving forward that we sometimes forget to offer hope to others. I truly believe that offering hope is equally if not more important in the long run. Sometimes I get so caught up in "assembling my own basket" and checking off the to-do list for it, that I forget to stop and think what it actually can offer…hope. Making a meal for a neighbor that is struggling or sick can be a vehicle for hope. Donating time and energy to a cause you believe in can be a vehicle for hope. Listening to a friend, sending an encouraging email or voicemail…all opportunities for hope.

I owe a thank you to the 1,000 volunteers I worked alongside of that day as well as to Coach Dungy for his inspiring words and for reminding me that I have the power to give hope to others each day. Whatever the form — a meal, a talk, a hug — I have the power to be a vehicle of hope. We all do. We just have to decide to do it. Coach Dungy said it best when he stated, “It’s about the journey–mine and yours–and the lives we can touch, the legacy we can leave, and the world we can change for the better.”