March 2014 (Vol. XXVII, No. 3)

Beneath yet another blanket of gently falling snow, I find myself pondering the warming glow of hope. Endless gray days, dying yearling deer, and seemingly lifeless forest encroach upon my heart. I know that spring will come, with its joyful melodies and vibrant hues and teeming life. Likewise that winter holds its own still beauty, paring down the landscape so we can see its silhouettes more clearly. Yet at times our world seems too far cast in winter's thrall to be able to remember and envision its renewal. How does one hold on to hope amid the chill of our inhumanities and senseless overpowering of the earth? From whence does hope come? How can we cradle our hands around it to protect it from the snuffing winds and cynical voices? To choose hope is to tap into the memory of faithfulness and to wait with gratitude for seeds of possibility hidden beneath the snow.

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Not to deny in the darkness what you have seen in the light

To one who waits
all things reveal themselves,
so long as you have the courage
not to deny in the darkness
what you have seen in the Light.

~ Coventry Patmore
The Angel in the House
By Coventry Patmore

The process by which the present creates the future

Hope is the foundation or beginning step of faith and an essential expression of love. It provides the formless general aspiration for that which is higher and better, and then faith fills out the picture with the specific shape that a better self or a better world would take. As the expression of love, it sends that image out to the loved one and to the universe. By hoping you are taking an active part in the process by which the present creates the future.

~ - from THE POWER OF HOPE by Robert Ellwood
Mysticism and Religion
By Robert S. Ellwood

A small breath of hope for the world

One Breath

Here, in the silence
And stillness between
I find myself offering
A small breath of hope
For the world.

~ Casey Sayre Boukus

Hope is faith holding out its hand

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

~ >~ George Iles

Hope in the end is a contradiction of the dominant version of reality

Hope is a human act of commitment to and investment in the future. Hope is an act of human courage that refuses to cherish the present too much or be reduced to despair by present circumstance. Hope is the capacity to relinquish the present for the sake of what is imagined to be a reachable future...

Sureness about God's large resolve...is a summons...Now is the time for yielding justice, for foolish forgiveness, for outrageous generosity, for elaborate hospitality. None of these acts can come from fear, anxiety, or despair. But they are all acts that evoke new futures that the fearful think are impossible. Hope in the end is a contradiction of the dominant version of reality...it is at the root of human well-being, for ourselves as for all our would-be neighbors.

~ Walter Brueggemann in Sojourners Magazine, Dec 2013

The human capacity for change

I see in [these] folks the human capacity for change, for redemption, for forgiveness. I believe that every one of us, made in God's image as we are, has that capacity. Our challenge is to learn to call it forth in each person. Our hope is that we will succeed.

~ Shelley Douglass in Sojourners Magazine, Dec 2013

Make tender, Lord, my heart

How shall the mighty river
reach the tiny seed?
See it rise silently
to the sun's yearning,
sail from a winter's cloud
flake after silent flake
piling up layer upon layer
until the thaw of spring
to meet the seedling's need.

Make tender, Lord, my heart:
release through gentleness
Thine own tremendous power
hid in the snowflake's art.

~ Antoinette Adam
PILGRIMAGE INTO DEPTH.
By Antoinette Adam.

Hope is based on relationships

Above all, hope is based on relationships, on a collaborative connection with people as well as a higher power.

~ Louise Danielle Palmer

Leaning into the light

There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

~ Barry Lopez in ARCTIC DREAMS
Arctic Dreams
By Barry Lopez

Suddenly an influx of light

Suddenly an influx of light, though it was late, filled my room. I looked out and saw that the pond was already calm and full of hope as on a summer evening, though the ice was dissolved but yesterday. There seemed to be some intelligence in the pond which responded to the unseen serenity in a distant horizon.

~ Thoreau
Walden
By Henry David Thoreau

Hope is always waiting

Look deeply into your life.
Search out the hidden things
within your circumstances.
The beauty is there.
Comfort and forgiveness are available.
Hope is always waiting
for you to find.

~ from William Martin in THE SAGE'S TAO TE CHING

The frog is calling

Dusty cobblestones glow in the darkness
I walk out thinking the moon is illuminating them
but the sky is only pinkness
A city engulfed in its own smog and light
Red sky prophesies say this is the end of days
A lone frog singing says the days will last
Outside I am overcome
Inside I am too big for my own cage
Shining intensity at my own smog
It glows too brightly
to see the moon
or stars beyond
I wait for a shift
For things to end
Or for a miracle
that will come
and clean everything
Like the rain
the frog is calling

~ Caitlin Chero

Hope and fear

Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.

~ Maya Angelou

Ever-circling Hope

Wild winter winds depart
in a final, dying howl.
Blackbird returns, a red-winged
oracle of spring,
announcing new life and renewed light,
shimmering with possibilities
of ever-circling Hope.

~ from “Red-Winged Blackbird” in POEMS OF OTHER WORLDS by Richard Bachtold
Mystical Poems by Three Contemporary New England Writers
By Carol Mays, Richard Bachtold, Nina Andersen