I am really enjoying Sas Petherick's My Mindful Year project, and April's prompt was about finding moments of hope. It got me thinking about what hope really is, and how it works, where it leads us and how it changes how we feel and perhaps the decisions we make?
A quick Google search comes up with this definition of hope:
a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen
a feeling of trust
want something to happen or be the case
I like the idea of expectation and trust, having the mindset of hope rather than suspicion or defeat. I really love these qualities when I see them in others and I think the kindest of childhoods set me up for a natural trusting instinct that people are basically good and things will turn out ok. Whilst this has sometimes meant that, on occasion, I have been disappointed by outcomes in relationships and events where my lack of suspicion let me trust a bit too freely, I still prefer that to living a life of fear and cynicism and am profoundly grateful for the lessons my parents taught me by their example of trustworthiness and their hopefulness and lack of cynicism about life.
I think that hope is something much more powerful than wishful thinking or naive optimism, I believe it can give one the strength to go on when life/friends/one's own failings disappoint, it is that internal force that helps you believe you can pick yourself up, dust yourself down and believe for better days. I guess my deepest source of hope is found in my faith, so it is actually a real anchor for my soul, and flows from a belief that beyond the happenings of my daily life, there is a God who loves, forgives, and is an ever-loving presence on the journey of my days. This, to me, is hope. Does hope resonate in your life, does it inform how you live? It feels pretty daring some days, to be hopeful doesn't it? Not rose-tinted, happy-dappyness, but sometimes a fierce, ballsy intention to stay in the game, press on and hold hope close as we allow our hearts to remain remain open and free of bitterness, our minds focused on gratefulness and what can still be. It can require digging deep sometimes but the alternative slump into hopelessness, anxiety and suspicion is so much worse, no? I keenly appreciate that my life has not been rent by suffering anything like as much as so many others, and where hope remains alive in the hearts of those that have known terrible trauma it seems to create something miraculous in the human spirit, something counter-intuitive, inexplicable and almost unbearably poignant and astounding.
April reminds me to hope, at every turn. Longer days, plants bursting into growth, hedgerows strewn with blackthorn blossom and birds singing their hearts out. Walks that become my wild church. This is where I have found my moments of hope. Regeneration, hope, forward momentum, Spring willing us on to hopefulness!