Two Shades of Hope – Foy Vance

The Cult of Fancination

If I could choose a superpower, I would choose the ability to give you the sense of wonder. I want you to sit back and gasp at knowing what wow looks like… your eyes wide with the hair on the back of your neck alive and waving. To believe that there is no limit to anything you hope for.

it was from my own sense of wonder that I stumbled into this notion of the Cult of Fancination.  

Fancination, that is my word. It is a sense of awe, a sense you get when you chase the wonder that sets you heart free…. It is that fantastic moment when you realize that you understand. This cult is a place for those who are looking for the fantastic. We are led by the Minister of Wander, and so… we wander. There is no tithe, we do not have any services or sacrifices…. we just ask that you grab hope and come wandering with us. Those of us who find our people in this cult believe the power of hope is a healing force of awe and wonder.

Over the last year the only thing that kept my nose above water was hope. I have seen the deep loving goodness of my fellow humans, and I have felt the cruelness that humans inflict on one another and I am glad that goodness still outweighs that cruelness. I have shared something with the incredible group of individuals that I work with. It has been such an honor to work alongside of them, to learn from them and to throw them my own bits of nonsense when I can. These people have shown up every day to give you a smile and a helping hand with your groceries. They do not see themselves as heroes, but they take a risk every time they come to work. The Cult of Fancination is an idea born amongst these people of mine, it is the embodiment of hope. If there is one thing that I know, when you hope, you can get up tomorrow and find a reason to do it again, even with the risk.

Cults are ubiquitous, one cannot exaggerate that statement in the slightest. The definition according to Merriam-Websters, is really long and includes things like, great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work; the object of such devotion; a system of religious beliefs and ritual”… just to name a few. If you process that, you can then look around and realize that almost every formal organization that we humans associate ourselves with, are indeed cults. I find it ironic that I was warned about cults while sitting in the pews of a cult… If you have read any of my wandering thoughts, you know that I center on hope. I chase it, and I do everything I can to give it. I do not believe we will fail if we have hope, but we are doomed without it. Hope is a monumentally hard thing to try and hold onto but before you can hold it, you have to reach for it, and there lies the risk.

“There’s one thing that I know
It is the two shades of hope
One the enlightening soul
And the other is more like a hangman’s rope”

I discovered Foy Vance in 2012 and I have even managed to see him a few times. He is a once in a generation singer/songwriter. Spending time wandering around his music will take you on a magical ride that I have been riding for almost a decade now.

“Two Shades of Hope” is from his 2007 album, “Hope”, it is a perfect example of his magic.  I have heard this song so many times, but as I worked through the thoughts of what I needed to write, I found solace in his message and a deep truth aligned with my own wandering mind. Hope deals the hardest blow, yet we cannot help but hope.

As I have watched the news play out, I am saddened by the despair we have slipped into. Not only are we ravaged with divisiveness, but families have been ripped open and are bleeding because of the lust of the powerful. When I saw the footage of the breech of our capitol, I wondered how it would be to see your son or daughter in that footage. Could you still find hope, what if they had placed their hope in some misguided leaders? Would you still love them enough…?

“When the world stole our young and preyed on the old, well
Hope deals in the hardest blows
Yet I cannot help myself but hope”

These things that plague us go so deep and are tied to the very roots of this nation. Stop telling me that this is not who we are, this is exactly who are and who we have always been. We must cling to the long hope if we think we can heal. These overt racist actions that we have witnessed are just a smattering of what boils beneath the surface. Any place you live within this country has some attachment to the system that drives and maintains the racist structure. It will not be unraveled quickly or ever if you do not decide to have a long deep hope for this, only then may you see the light of justice prevail. Calling yourself a liberal does not make you exempt from pushing into the hope, some of the “liberals” I have known are the laziest and most bigoted of them all. When you choose to ignore this problem, you are exercising the privilege that you deny exists.

The Cult of Fancination is for those who are willing to invest in the long hope, taking the risk and chasing the fantastic wonder of wander.  We believe in hope and we are fantastically aware that hope can hurt as much as it heals. We will hold each other, and we will carry each other when hope has dealt you that hardest blow.

“I guess that’s why love hurts
And heartache stings
And despair is never worse
Than the despair that death brings
But hope deals the hardest blows, dear
The hardest
Hope deals the hardest blows”

If we spent even the tiniest portion of our time chasing the fantastic, we might get lost in its wonder and thrive. Sometimes hope is quiet and succinct, sometimes it is a loud and raging wind that pushes change through your lungs like a fire. Poet, Amanda Gorman said “We need that cacophony” and I agree. That cacophony is the burning of the cancer, it is hard and painful, but it will lead to a more hopeful day. Decades ago, I chose a cult that fed my need to believe there was a god that cared about me and my kids. I was so wrong and I have spent many years sorting out what are my thoughts and what was placed there. Decades later I watch my kids using the same playbook and now our belief systems have grown so far apart that we just simply cannot talk about it. It does not diminish the love I have for them, nor the pride in their beautiful families. But hope does deal the hardest blows.

“And now all these truths are so
With foundations below them
They were dug out in a winter’s cold”

Your own perceived wealth is an exacting measure of your sense of entitlement. I have seen an abundance of entitlement over the last year as I work to stock and bag your groceries. But I have found hope to be my anchor in just being able to smile, regardless of your anger or entitlement. There are so many of you that have been nothing but kind and grateful and I will always honor you with my work. There is a great deal of human beauty on this planet and I am grateful to be amongst you. I see those who are grieving or just angry and I am certain that somewhere at the root of it is the dealing of a blow from having hope. You are probably trying to figure out if you should ever hope again or maybe you just want some retribution, I do not know your story, but I will listen and I have hope for you. It will deal you another blow, but having hope means you are extending your energy into the wild unknown and sometimes it will slam you against the wall and walk away laughing, but sometimes it explodes into something beautiful. In the Cult of Fancination we will not coddle you, but we will love you so fiercely that you will hope once more, and you will take one more shot.

“There was once someone I loved
Whose heart overflowed his cup
And his shoes got covered in blood
Oh but he never knew cos he only looked up
Well he was in trouble and so
Had known pain more than most I know
Yet it was hope that dealt the hardest blows”

I hope that you will keep looking up, no matter how much blood you have on your shoes. I know what pain is, I know what love is and how much it hurts to lose it, but I will be here, waiting for you to join us. The Cult of Fancination is a place of wandering broken hopeful humans like you and I. Come and learn with us and join in that long hope, we can get there, but only together.

Listening, learning, and growing

One thought on “Two Shades of Hope – Foy Vance

  1. Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


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