A friend shared the following passage with me and I was sold after the first line: “Active Hope is not wishful thinking.” Yes! Thank you for putting that simple sentence down on paper.
I've been reflecting a lot over the past few months about my relationship to hope. Both with the our new president and the uncertain, unfolding changes in the country and with my pregnancy, which as any of you who have kids know is full of uncertainty, especially in the early weeks and months. In both cases, I have been given the advice to not be too optimistic. The default opinion seems to be that to protect yourself and prepare yourself for action, it's best to err on the side of being realistic or even pessimistic.
Maybe that works for some people. But for me, pessimism just makes me shut down. It makes me close myself off in my apartment, tune out the world, and detach myself from what I think and feel. It is not motivating or life affirming in any way. It means denying the part of myself that IS hopeful. And I've come to realize that having hope is not wishful thinking. It does not mean denying reality or waiting for something to come and rescue you. Instead, active hope fuels us into action and allows us to live a richer life.
Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone say it best in this passage from their book Active Hope:
“Active Hope is not wishful thinking.
Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued...
by some savior.
Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life
on whose behalf we can act.
We belong to this world.
The web of life is calling us forth at this time.
We’ve come a long way and are here to play our part.
With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store,
strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with.
Active Hope is a readiness to discover the strengths
in ourselves and in others;
a readiness to discover the reasons for hope
and the occasions for love.
A readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts,
our quickness of mind, our steadiness of purpose,
our own authority, our love for life,
the liveliness of our curiosity,
the unsuspected deep well of patience and diligence,
the keenness of our senses, and our capacity to lead.
None of these can be discovered in an armchair or without risk.”