The hope of a Blue Devil
by Jennifer Cohron
Jun 05, 2011 | 2960 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Cohron
Jennifer Cohron
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Hate is more than an emotion. It’s an atmosphere that has engulfed the city that many of us call home.

I can’t sit in judgment of anyone’s anger. I have gotten mad at someone or something at least twice a day since April 27, and I didn’t lose my home or a loved one in the tornadoes.

Anger is a natural human reaction. It just hasn’t been a very productive one for me.

I’ve fought with my husband, yelled at my boss, told off Facebook “friends” and ranted at innocent bystanders who dared to ask “And how are you doing, Mrs. Cohron?”

I have gotten everything off my chest whenever I could thinking that it would help me feel better. This week I realized what all of that anger had accomplished — nothing.

The only thing changing is me. I am turning into a person that I’m not too proud of, my family and friends won’t want to be around and I certainly don’t want my son to grow up to be.

Meanwhile, I am paying more attention to the anger of others and I am catching glimpses of a beast that I want no part of — hate.

I don’t know how long or short the path is between unbridled anger and hate. I just don’t want to find out.

So what do I do when my blood starts to boil?

My husband has told me that I should brush more stuff off like he does because it isn’t worth it. My boss has also advised me to chill out.

But they both know that I don’t “chill” well. I have to find my own way of fighting the various personal and professional battles before me.

Writing has always worked for me.

There’s a reason that some of my columns sound like mini therapy sessions. Putting pen to paper forces me to be honest with myself and anyone who happens to turn to this page each week.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers. All I can do is say this is who I am, this is what I’m going through and this is what I’m learning. If it helps somebody besides me, then I can accept my paycheck with a clear conscience that week.

I am also trying to redirect my energy into activities and emotions that will be healthier for me and better serve others.

Late this week, I was led to hope.

The cynical side of me recognizes hope as a catchword. President Obama used it to get elected and Cordova High School Principal Kathy Vintson used it to inspire her students last semester.

Shortly after becoming principal, Vintson launched a school-wide initiative called I HOPE. The acronym stands for I Have the Opportunity and Potential to Excel.

I learned about it while doing a story on Polish, the school’s new mentoring program for girls.

I’m convinced that all high school girls have issues. Low self-esteem is a big one, and I don’t care if you’re a cheerleader or the class valedictorian.

Too often, we girls attach our self-worth to the guy we date or marry. Then one day we wake up and realize that we have no idea who we are without them.

I’m glad that my alma mater finally has a program to help girls realize that we have a lot more power inside us than the world gives us credit for.

I was so excited about Polish that initially I missed the importance of the I HOPE motto. It didn’t hit me until May 2, my first day back to work after the tornadoes.

Mrs. Vintson had just told me how students, parents and community members had turned the school into a true beacon on the hill after the storms. I went to the lunchroom to take a few pictures for the story and came across a cardboard Blue Devil.

“Hope” was written between his horns and underneath that was the motto: “When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’”

April 27 surely brought a lot of kids at Cordova High School to their knees, but they didn’t stay there. They stood strong in the middle of the devastation and said, “I will not be defeated because I have hope.”

Maybe it’s time more of us do the same.

According to the dictionary, hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

So here’s what I hope for.

I hope solutions can be found to our problems and our differences can be settled peacefully.

I hope that after the TV cameras leave, we will prove that we are better than how we appeared when they were here.

I hope that one day we will rediscover the Blue Devil bond that holds this community together.

I hope we will finally be able to stop talking about how things used to be and focus more on what we want them to be now.

I hope that one day my son will be able to walk through a new downtown area that is bustling with people and businesses.

And I hope that whenever we encounter an obstacle in rebuilding our life and town that makes us want to give up, we will take a breath, dig deep and listen to the hope inside us that says, “Try it one more time.”