What is Hope?

What does it mean to have hope in a world that increasingly seeks to inspire hopelessness?

Don’t miss my latest article for Earth & Altar: Guide Us in the Way of Justice and Truth: On Burning Bushes, Fingerprints, and a Couragous Imagination

This week one of my kids dripped oil on my favorite bag and stained it. I broke down and started sobbing. Over a bag. Except it wasn’t. It was all the things I’ve been holding at bay, trying not to think about too much so I could keep doing all the other things I need to do on any given day. And then sometimes one little thing that shouldn’t be such a big deal breaks the dam.

As a survivor of long-term trauma, I know how to compartmentalize to survive, I just never expected that these skills would be so needed to survive something like this. And yet, I have hope. Maybe because I have survived ongoing trauma in the past, I still see the hope in this situation, and it’s not where you might think. Hope isn’t based on facts. Rather, much like courage isn’t the absence of fear, hope isn’t the absence of hopelessness. Hope has nothing to do with the circumstances, but with our own spirits and the people to whom we are connected. Hope is defiance. It stands up in hopeless situations and persists anyway. It’s based on the resilience of the human spirit. 

Hope dares to dream a future that “they” will tell you is impossible. Of course, who are “they” but the ones in power seeking to hold on to power by discouraging those who would try to claim it for the many. Hope is lost not because of the situation, but by exhaustion and disconnection. That is why no matter what we face, we must commit to hold on to each other and to rest. Because if hope is defiance, then rest is revolutionary in a culture that demands that we treat our bodies as currency and commodity, and which resists a narrative of wholeness. 

So we hope defiantly, daring to believe no matter what the odds we can build a better society where thriving and wholeness are possible. We pray with our feet and dare to believe “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” is an aspirational statement that we were meant to live into. This kingdom is the upside-down--or rather right-side-up--kingdom of God where there is no difference in people’s status based on any of the false lines that humans draw to try to impute more worth to some humans than others. 

And ultimately, this hope is based on the promise that one day all of this will be made new and that we get to participate in that renewal. Until then, we live in the now-and-the-not-yet knowing that “...hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Rom. 8:24-25. This waiting is an attitude, not a lack of action. This waiting is preparation and participation in what will become the peaceable kingdom where God herself will reign, not as the corrupt rulers of our time, but as one whose reign brings true peace and thriving to everyone, equally. 


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Course on Indigenous History

A facebook friend of mine linked to this free college course anyone can audit from the University of Alberta. I’ve signed up and can’t wait to get started on the material this week. The more I dig into the history of Turtle Island (North America), the more I realize how so much has been left out. This can help fill the gaps. And why indigenous Canada? Well, one because it’s available and two, as my friend pointed out the notions of borders were pretty much brought in by the colonizers and people with roots in Canada and around what we call the border got split up by the divisions the Europeans imposed as they expanded their settlements and so forth. We cannot move forward until we look back and figure out how we can make things right. We can’t undo a genocide from hundreds of years ago, but we can make good on our treaties—which no administration of any party has ever done—and we can figure out how to live in harmony with the indigenous nations among us by promoting their thriving on their terms, and not our own. Sign up and learn more with me!

Relief for Beruit

Beirut still needs our help as they deal with a wave of Covid and too many people without homes in which to shelter. You can support Premptive Love’s ongoing relief efforts here.

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