When looking at the crises unfolding around our world, I go back and forth between feelings of hope and hopelessness. There are reasons for both. But in spite of the uncertain future, I find it doesn’t really change how I go about my life because I will do whatever I can to stay positive, and to bring about the new vision of a healthy world we all long for.
Before I share other peoples’ thoughts about hope, I want to reach back to last month’s Reflection on Fear and Courage because this quote about fear can lead us into hope.
"Let’s start with a fundamental human problem, and I don’t mean race or religion or origin. I mean fear. Fright, my young friend, may be the first serious enemy you have to face in our society. It’s the most destructive emotional bogeyman there is. Cold feet, panic, depression, and violence are all symptoms of fear—when it’s out of control. But this feeling, ironically, can also trigger courage, alertness, and objectivity. You must learn not to try to rid yourself of this basic, human emotion, but to manipulate it for your own advantage. You cannot surrender to fear, but you can use it as a kind of fuel. Once you learn to control fear—to make it work for you—it will become one of your best friends."
Jose Torres, 1936 – 2009; Puerto Rican professional boxer
"Hope is not what we find in evidence. It is what we become in action."
Motto of the Small Planet Institute: Frances Moore Lappé
"And we need hope. In Judaism, we engage in hope. Hope is not a wish; it's not something we think about. Hope is something we do; it is something that we are. We don't have hope, we become hope. And for that hope to become real, we need a vision."
Rabbi Neil Amsywch of the Temple Beth Shalom
"Knowing that Jesus still walks our streets, that he is part of the lives of his people, that he is involved with us in one vast history of salvation, fills us with hope. A hope which liberates us from the forces pushing us to isolation and lack of concern for the lives of others. A hope which frees us from empty connections, from abstract analyses, or sensationalist routines. A hope which is unafraid of involvement, which acts as a leaven wherever we happen to live and work."
"I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning if I didn’t believe there is something we can do about gaining economic justice for people."
Nikki Silvestri, Executive Director of Green For All
"People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do."
"Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope—not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; not the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; not the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); not the cheerful, flimsy garden gates of 'Everything is gonna be all right.' But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about our own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see."
The Reverend Victoria Safford
Further text from The Reverend Victoria Safford on hope is reprinted in our "Gates of Hope" card that can be found at Desert Rose Press. I made this image in hopes that it would help heal the wound of the 9-11 disaster.
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