Sometimes we think of hope as a kind of wishfulness or as an ingredient in optimism…. But when we talk about the power of hope from a spiritual perspective, the experience of hope is fundamentally different. It is resilient, enduring, courageous, and occasionally bold.. When we have passed through difficulties and hard times, there is a lingering appreciation for how hope strengthens our vision and revitalizes our purpose.
There is also a good chance that many of us have had some occasion to lose hope. Such occasions can serve as powerful reminders of the difference between living inside hope and finding ourselves in a state of defeat and lacking motivation. Ultimately, an understanding of hope is only possible because of our experiences of passing through adversity.
Hope is also a measure of our connection: to a life of meaning, to a community, and to a larger purpose of action and Karen Herring identifies this thought by observing, “During the many times I have lost sight of hope from my window, I have felt grateful when friends have invited me to view it from theirs.”
A natural environment for hope is in community. Kirk Loadman-Copeland writes: “ The Common Good is affected by our individual and collective experiences and how we view the present and the future. When hopeful, we invest in the Common Good, believing the results will be worthwhile. Our circle of concern extends to include the “Other.” When fearful, our circle of concern shrinks. We abandon the Common Good, and in so doing, imperil the future.” As a community, I think it can be helpful for us to consider and remember this. And to offer encouragement for working towards and holding onto hope, we have this thought from Barack Obama: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
This month may we come together as a community in exploring the meaning of “hope” – as we think about ways to experience it our lives and as we work to see it manifested around us. The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here. If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take a copy from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken.
Wishing you joy in community, M.E. Tanabe