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It can be a challenge to imagine how hope plays out in people very different than ourselves or in people who are facing challenges different than ours. In Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance, author John Berger writes the following and more about hope in the 'other':
"The whole of history is about hopes being sustained, lost, renewed. And with new hopes come new theories. But for the overcrowded, for those who have little or nothing except, sometimes, courage and love, hope works differently. Hope is then something to bite on, to put between the teeth. Don't forget this. Be a realist. With hope between the teeth comes the strength to carry on even when fatigue never lets up, comes the strength, when necessary, to choose not to shout at the wrong moment, comes the strength above all not to howl."
Try watching the news while holding Berger's words in your hand and in your mind.
Tamara Hill Murphy has just finished a series on her wonderful and robust blog, A Sacramental Life, called "Work Stories: Living Out Our Callings One Day at A Time." In the series, she invited 9 people to share a day-in-the-life post about their work. The series started with Chris Smith, editor of The Englewood Review of Books, and ended with me, and had lots of good stuff all throughout. I hope you'll check it out. Here's the link to my post (in which I reveal for the first time the working title of my book-in-progress about hope).
A good friend recently told me that she has been reminding herself of these words from a verse in Philippians: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." She passed this on as advice to me, and in turn I pass it on to you. Perhaps you'll pass it on sometime soon as well?
Several months ago I wrote here and on my blog about The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. As a reminder, here's part of that post:
One of the points he makes is that something as simple as saying, and meaning, "I'll be waiting" is an act of hope on behalf of another person, particularly a person who is going through a tough time. Waiting to hear, waiting to see. "I'll be waiting" points to a tomorrow in which a person is not alone.
At the time, I was reading a copy of the book from my church's library. Since then I bought the book, but then soon after found a copy I had bought long ago but had misplaced. All this is to say, I have an extra copy, and I'd be happy to send my new unread copy along to a reader who would like it. Send me an email, and I'll send it out to the first person who asks.
May you be encouraged toward compassion and intention, and with thoughts of what is true and noble, right and pure, lovely and admirable. As always, thank you for reading!
p.s. In the last issue, I mentioned The Porch, a newsletter and online magazine and website, but I forgot to include the link. Here it is now: The Porch.
p.p.s. If you have a friend who might like this newsletter, please do pass it along.
[Photo: taken of the always interesting sidewalk.]