There are a lot of wonderful things Parks And Recreation championed over its 7 season run. Breakfast food. Miniature horses. Pretty much every item on Ron Swanson’s Pyramid Of Greatness.
But the greatest thing of all Parks And Recreation championed was hope.
Leslie Knope is arguably the most hopeful character in the history of television.
Of course she never had it easy. Nearly every open forum the Parks Department held to talk about their hopeful ideas devolved into hilarious madness, corrupted by the cynical and selfish desires of the townspeople:
Despite facing nearly insurmountable pushback from the citizens of Pawnee, Leslie and the Parks team showed up to work each day hopeful that their small projects could make a difference on their midwest section of the country.
And they did.
Week after week, year after year, the small projects the Pawnee Parks Department tirelessly championed left a dramatic impact on their city.
Whether facing a corrupt candy company or insane city council members or the snobs one city over in Eagleton, Leslie and Ron and Ben and Andy and April never stopped believing that their work mattered. Because of this hope they were able to turn pits into parks, launch Harvest Festivals and create the best television comedy of the past decade.
The greatest temptation is to believe our life doesn’t matter. That we are just a cog in the machine. That what we do doesn’t count. For that reason I thank God for the Leslie Knopes of the world.
The people who scream louder than the cries of the cynics. The ones who go into the battlefield when the opposition seems insurmountable fueled by an indefatigable hope.
People I look up to like Bob Goff and Donald Miller. Mentors I’ve met like David Keel and Sean Taylor. The youth pastors and bloggers and teachers and noble politicians we all know who continue to believe their lives and their work matter even when they don’t always see results.
I also thank God for a show like Parks And Recreation. For rare is the show which celebrates hope and joy, which chips away at the epidemic of cynicism in the world and which champions the idea that the small things we do add up to something that matters.
May we all one day believe our lives matter enough to keep showing up to do the work even when no one believes in us. May the hope of Leslie Knope live on long after the closing credits.
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