A friend posted the following quote from Chris Jordan on Facebook: "I'm not big on hope now. Joanna Macy has said that hope and hopelessness live on a continuum of disempowered mind states. When there is hope, we're hoping something outside our own agency will work in our favor. We hope to live to an old age. My son Emerson likes to joke that he hopes he does his homework, and this illustrates the disempowered mind state of hope. Joanna says the opposite of hope is not hopelessness; it's action. That's the genius of Dante's Inferno. As Dante walks into the fire, the gates say, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." The idea is to let go of the passive victim role of hope and take control of one's own destiny. As a culture, we have our compass set to "hope." But it's a giant puff of smoke, with nothing there. Culturally, I think we need to calibrate away from that disempowered concept of hope and recalibrate toward love. If we could collectively reconnect with our reverent love for the incomprehensibly beautiful miracle of our world, all kinds of change could happen fast — and just in the nick of time."
While I agree with his closing statements about love and the beautiful miracle of our world, I disagree with his comments on hope. And actually, it isn't the content of what he said that I disagree with. I totally see what he is saying. And if we think of hope as an inactive state, then I agree. I can't just hope my kids will learn to play the piano. I have to have a piano in my home, I must provide them with lessons, and I need to ensure that they practice. I can't just make a wish that we will travel. I have to plan where we will go, and I must save money to be able to afford the trips. I just think he is talking about WISHING. And to me that is different than hope.
I would assert that true hope is much more than this definition. I love this song,It Might Be Hope, by Mercy River. The beginning of this video says: "Hope. The feeling that what is wanted can be had." Hope, to me, is the belief, the faith that tomorrow will be better than today. Hope is trusting that even when today seems dark or troubling that you will be granted the strength to keep walking and that soon the sunshine will peak through the clouds. In the scriptures, hope is paired with faith and charity. I think hope is based on trust in and love for God. And hope is tied closely to love. I hope for an end to difficult challenges, but I'm not inactively waiting for that end to come. I think of my dear sister and my niece. My sister hopes for a brighter future for my niece with special needs. But she doesn't sit idly by, just wishing for that to happen. She researches and studies and tries adjustments in their diet, therapy, vitamin supplements, and prayer. Hope has power, where wishing does not. Hope is active and vibrant. Hope, in most cases, is what gives us the energy to spring into action. If we have hope, then we are willing to make changes in our own lives and work to make this world a better place. I know as a teacher that I don't change every child's life that walks through my classroom doors. But I have faith and hope that I am making a difference for some of them as I love them and teach them. It is that HOPE that empowers me to give my very best to those children each day, despite the challenges. And ultimately, it is my Faith and Hope coupled with love that allow me to look forward to an even brighter future for myself, for my children and for this world. There is power in faith, hope and love. And I believe you can't really have one without the other. They are inextricably connected.