A Thought on Hope- Esther Ou

Last Friday at our final formation time, Dennis shared a poem on hope as we reflected on this past year.

Rubem Alves: Hope

What is hope?

It is a presentiment that imagination is more real

and reality less real

than it looks.

It is a hunch that the overwhelming brutality of facts

that oppress and repress

is not the last word.

It is a suspicion that reality is more complex

than realism wants us to believe

and that the frontiers of the possible are not determined

by the limits of the actual

and that in a miraculous and unexpected way

life is preparing the creative events

which will open the way to freedom and resurrection . . .

The two, suffering and hope, live from each other.

Suffering without hope produces resentment and despair,

hope without suffering creates illusions, naiveté, and drunkenness . . .

Let us plant dates

even though those who plant them will never eat them.

We must live by the love of what we will never see.

This is the secret discipline.

It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved

in immediate sense experience

and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren.

Such disciplined love is what has given

prophets, revolutionaries and saints

the courage to die for the future they envisaged.

They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.

Hope often takes on many colors, sometimes appearing elusive or insincere. When in a dark and difficult time, hope can hold no meaning. But I think I’ve learned a bit about hope in the past few years of my life, especially while hiking.

  1. Hope usually goes against our need for instantaneous gratification.
  2. It has a mentality, and is more often than not accompanied by struggle.
  3. It is being patient with the current reality while moving forward.
  4. Hope is a reminder that this current state is not the end.

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If you know my roommate George, he is the type never to choose an easy hike. He seeks out the toughest ones, with a level “hard” attached. I recall the hikes where we could see mountains beyond mountains, the hikes where we passed through multiple “false summits” before we reached the peak, the hikes where my joints ached for days at the steepness of the climb. It is those climbs where hope is embodied and manifested. The thing about living near a mountain range is that there’s always another mountain. Literally. Another summit. Another challenge.

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When you reach the top, you feel the high of victory, the speechlessness of beauty. Every pinnacle, no matter how seemingly small, is a victory– a view to appreciate, an exercise in patience.  However, the journey there is not flat. The majority of any hike is trekking up the mountain….just to trek it right back down. It is being tired and in pain, and we endure that struggle because each step is a step forward towards a new height. At times, easier. At other times, harder.

That is the hope that we must seek and live out — with our personal demons, in our fight towards justice, everything.

 

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