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Spiritual ABC's -- Letter H


Let this positive and potent emotion fuel your dreams and support your service of others. Through your attitudes and actions, encourage others never to lose hope.
Spiritual Literacy -- Reading the Spiritual in Everyday Life, by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat.

OK.  Back to this alphabet series...

There is so much that gets written about "hope," and in this highly charged political season, it is difficult to not get tipped over into the sloganeering that seems to have grabbed the word and hijacked it for sixty second advertising copy.  There must be more to say.  I feel, very strongly, that somehow I survived on hope during the last two years; that our whole family survived on hope.  That is pretty powerful stuff, not just some sort of fluffy, feel-good cliche.

Shel Silverstein wrote:
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

I really think that the important kernel of understanding about this "potent and powerful" emotion is there.  Hope is the conviction, against all reason, and in contravention of everything we are told, that anything at all can come to pass in our lives.  Hope happens because there is something in us that will not give up, will not quit, will insist on looking forward rather than backward.   

That is what fuels our dreams.  Backward, into the darkness of days gone by; into our personal histories, there is nothing to dream of.  Going back is not an option for any of us.  Time moves us forward relentlessly. Hope turns us around and points us in the direction of the light of new days and new potentials.  

We hope for better opportunities, more successes, happier circumstances.  We hope to find love, or to perfect loves, or to go on forever wrapped up in a love that seems perfect in the present.  We hope to avoid unpleasantness.  We hope to mold and shape our lives to our liking.  Hoping for what is not, and being convinced that it could yet come to be, we hold on, we persevere, we wait, we become patient.  

Hope removes from us the sense of demand that characterizes the impatient child.  Instead, with hope, we can sit quietly through the storms and vagaries of our days and years, believing that if we can imagine it, it can yet come into fullness in our lives -- and no one will ever convince us otherwise.  WE HOPE!



  1. I don't know about this, Sue. I find hope distracting. I would rather find my comfort in accepting life as it is. Expectation I can like; but hope ... the word seems tinged with melancholy.
    Perhaps the meaning in your mind is different from that in mine. After all, hope is not a thing that is well defined.

  2. Interesting, Malcolm. I'd agree that hope carries with it that tinge of melancholy, but I'd argue that the sadness comes from the acknowledgement of what has been -- fleeting joys and lasting disappointments. The idea of expectation had not occurred to me in this context, although I do have experience with "expectant waiting" (in a variety of circumstances). I wonder if I "hope" although I do not really know what to expect?



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