Today, I thought about hope. In the midst of so much. People think of hope as a flimsy thing, easily overcome by the enormity of real life – the fears we have, the challenges, what’s happening in the world.
In 2013, I wrote a post about hope, and I revisited it today.
It has conviction, it reminds me of what is worth our focus, and what is not:
‘Passion is part of hope. Being passionate is the opposite of being cynical. Cynicism is turning the other cheek, thinking that nothing you can do or say can ever make a difference because things just are – they are never going to change.
Yet all the little things that have happened across history – all the milestones that are still worth fighting for – racial liberation, women’s liberation, disability rights, sexual liberation and so much more – have taken someone, or a whole group of people, rising up, having hope and fighting hard for what they believe in.
Coming together, despite the fact that they might have differences, and being part of a common cause. Just because that Twitter timeline changes so quickly, just because Facebook has a short memory, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth fighting for things – that we should have a short memory.
What is hope but the thing that has sustained human dreams and set us into Space and time?’
On Ra’s Instagram Stories today, she shared a piece of art and a quote that reminded me of the importance of imagination.
To paraphrase the message, when you live in a world so in thrall to worst parts of human imagination – neoliberal-capitalism, exploitation, fascism disguised as ‘democracy’, and profit over lives and planet – it’s important to truly imagine better. If we can’t, then what is left?
What seems like it’s impossible now, is potentially not impossible one day. Someone dreamed up this world.
The words under that piece of art reminded me that even if we have to participate in this world to survive, it doesn’t mean we have to bow underneath it. There are corners of resistance. There are places where people dare to imagine better, and are mobilising to create that, bit by hard-won bit.
Hope is resistance. Hope is, as Emily Dickinson put it, ‘the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.’ Hope isn’t a softness, necessarily. It can be the shield, or it can be the knowledge we need to dig in and roll our sleeves up. It can be dreams of better, with the actions that get us there.
It can be the small things we do every day, in spite of it all. In spite of those in power who would have us worn down and checked out. It also feels like community and love is where hope thrives. In the spaces where we are appreciated and where we care for others.
Care and love are the antithesis to capitalism, which works at fragmenting community.
It seems to me now that we are at a flash point in human history. There have been plenty of other flash points. Times when we could have gone left or right, backwards or forwards. It’s the choices we make and the way we care for others and ourselves that often makes the difference.
There is fear and pain, definitely. In the UK this winter is going to be painful for many people. But there are people doing things in their communities to try and make it easier. To make sure people have most of what they need.
None of us have all the answers but we can still hope, defiantly, in the face of a deficiency of imagination and empathy.
This post is part of NanoPoblano, a Cheer Peppers production! If you’d like to see what other people are writing and sharing, please click the image below.