June 20, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

It’s 4:01 am, Saturday, June 20, 2020, as I write these words. I’m sitting in the front room at Hope with my heart breaking and my vigilante side rising. Another broken window. Another goddamned broken window.

I believe life’s creative force is greater than its destructive force, although destruction makes all the noise and gets you out of bed at 2 am to grab your sleeping bag and head to Hope. Creation is always stronger, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way

Some pathetic lowlife, tortured soul, angry loser sad human being, at 11:45 or so last night walked South up Wilson Street, crossed Valley Street and threw a good-sized rock through the window on the Valley Street side of the building. They did a good job of this bad deed, too. Smashed out almost the entire pane. We’ve got plywood covering the bottom half of the window, but I’ll be here the rest of the night until we can get to a hardware store and get more wood. Yes, we’ve got security-camera footage of them. Dave Cote and I reviewed it 30 minutes ago. He’s gone home to prepare for his daughter’s high school graduation in a few hours, then he’ll do technical stuff with the video to help us identify the miscreant, dead-ender, piece of crap person who did this. Yes, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That’s not really the point.

Hope is a place where creative things happen. People discover they can live without drugs or alcohol. People share a smile and a real human connection. People paint. People meditate. Hope is good.

Wickedness is shooting out a streetlight when you’re a kid. Evil is identifying the good and setting out to destroy it because it is good. Throwing a rock through Hope’s window is evil, particularly when it’s happened not once, not twice, not . . . but seven times. I’m not saying the person who’s done this is evil, although she or he may be, but the act itself is evil. Its goal is the destruction of good.

With this latest window breaking, Hope will have spent almost $7,000 on replacing windows. That money is not covered by insurance. That money is not reimbursed by our landlords. That money would have been spent on helping people, but now it’s being given to a glass company time after time after time. 

Earlier this month, Hope was part of New Hampshire Gives, a statewide fundraiser for nonprofits. The Hope staff, as individuals, donated more than $1,250. While this is not a complaint, but everyone who works at Hope could make more money working at another agency in the recovery field. We stay here because we believe we provide the best and most effective support—that offered by one person in recovery to another who needs help. That money the Hope staff donated came because we know Hope is good.

Unfortunately, instead of adding another staff person to help with Coronavirus needs when we reopen, instead of loaning someone money to get into recovery housing, instead of buying art supplies or  instead of paying the heating bill during next winter, that donation has been completely sucked up by broken windows.

It’s now 4:45 am, the sun is starting to come up. It’s safe for me, I think, to set up a yoga mat in the hallway, put my sleeping bag on it and try to catch a little sleep. When the hardware store opens, I’ll buy the second piece of plywood, find someone to help me install it and get on with my day, a day that has less hope than it should because Hope has more damage than it should.

Say a prayer for me that I’m able to keep believing in the power of creation over destruction. Say a prayer for Hope. Say a prayer for yourself. After all

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Keith