There are a lot of ideas about hope out there.
I’m not interested in the sweet-sounding ones that desert us when the tough stuff sets in.
I’m interested in the sturdy, stouthearted notion of hope that stays with us when the waves come crashing in.
And usually, these notions have, as Father Greg Boyle would say, a maintenance contract. In other words, they demand that we be active participants in building and growing this thing called hope.
There’s a bit of wisdom from Professor David Orr that’s really stuck with me.
“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up,” he said.
Hope is work. Our work. It isn’t something we can just grab, have, hold. It is something we must kindle again and again by going into the world and doing the things, no matter how small, that help create the world we hope for.
Compost, hold doors, make anonymous donations, send love letters, say Thank You! often and loud, show up, be so utterly present to people that they can’t help but be reminded how much they matter. And more, much more.
Each time we do these things, we nudge the world forward. And that, I think, is what hope with its sleeves rolled up can do.