“Because Hope survives best at the hearth,” I said. “Guard it for me and I won’t be tempted to give up again.” (from Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan)
It’s one of my favorite moments in this series. Percy begins to feel despair creeping in and is tempted to give up hope. But then, as he warms himself by the hearth on Mount Olympus, he remembers the people he is fighting for–his family, his friends. In literature, the hearth functions as a symbol of home and community. It is the gathering place for a family, sustaining life with it’s heat, warding off the cold air and cooking food. Some of my fondest memories are of sitting around the fireplace or a campfire with my family and friends–laughing, singing, sharing, s’mores, being still, worshiping. Those are the kinds of moments that warm us from the inside out, that last through all the cold and dark nights of our lives, that sustain hope when we are tempted to despair. Hope survives best at the hearth.