About Hope

Miriam Akhtar (psychologist)

Hope, on the other hand, is a practical concept in positive psychology. It is made up of two components – motivation or agency (willpower) and finding pathways to the goal (waypower). Or to put it another way: where there is a will to transcend tragedy there is almost certainly a way.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Jon Bloom  

The more hopeful we are, the more mentally healthy we are.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

William Brodrick ‘The Sixth Lamentation’

My mother never mentioned her own loss. Ever since, Hope, for me, has not been about anticipation…but endurance. Like the food taken at Passover, from a very early age I was introduced to the bitter and the sweet.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

For within her the heavens were lit by repeated explosions of fireworks, with every shade of blue and green and yellow and red, splintering into trillions of gleaming particles against a vast stream of silver, dancing stars. They fell as a shower upon her raised head, on to her lashes, balancing precariously on each curved, counted hair before tumbling joyously over into the abyss beneath, where she would soon follow after the reunion with Robert that would surely come. She had entered upon a timeless, enduring, secret benediction.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Brenè Brown  ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’

HOPE is not an emotion. It’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is a thought process made up of a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency. (C. R. Snyder)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is learned.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Tracy Chevalier ‘A Single Thread’

“Dum spiro spero” – While I breathe, I hope. Always.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

G. K. Chesterton  ‘Heretics’

Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Sir Winston Churchill

All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Charles Colson  ‘My Final Word’

The virtue of hope is neat: Everybody needs hope in their lives. If their circumstances are tough, they have to hope they’re going to get better. Hope is that which you seek, and the belief that what you seek can be realised.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Show me somebody who can live without hope, and I’ll show you a suicide waiting to happen.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Simone De Beauvoir  ‘A Very Easy Death’

Hope was her most urgent need.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Annie Dillard  ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’

We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumours of death, beauty, violence… I wake expectant, hoping to see a new thing.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Anthony Doerr  ‘About Grace’

Hope was a sunrise, a friend in an alley, a whisper in an empty corridor.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is something that can be dangerous but without it life would be horribly dry. Impossible even.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Dr Edith Eger  ‘The Choice’

The words I heard inside my head made a tremendous difference in my ability to maintain hope. We were able to discover an inner strength we could draw on – a way to talk to ourselves that helped us feel free inside, that kept us grounded in our own morality, that gave us foundation and assurance even when the external forces sought to control and obliterate us. “I’m good! I’m innocent! Somehow, something good will come of this.”

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Albert Einstein

Learn from yesterday; live for today; hope for tomorrow.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Zack Eswine  ‘Spurgeon’s Sorrows’

When realistic hope quits so do we.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Quote: Realistic hope is ‘the door out of the blackness of depression and despair.’ (Dr Richard Winter)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Promise fuels realistic hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope demolished can become hope rebuilt.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Richard Paul Evans  ‘Finding Noel’

I’ve come to know that our families are a canvas on which we paint our greatest hopes – imperfect and sloppy, for we are all amateurs at life, but if we do not focus too much on our mistakes, a miraculous picture emerges. And we learn that it is not the beauty of the image that warrants our gratitude – it’s the chance to paint.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Richard Paul Evans  ‘Timepiece’

Hope is a rare gift that, if we are lucky, comes to us with the power to heal our lives. I’ve come to know that the deepest sense of hope often springs from the hardest lessons in life. It is in the darkest skies that stars are best seen– perhaps it is divine irony that within the darkest moments we are capable of revealing the greatest light, demonstrating what is best with humanity.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Richard Paul Evans  ‘The Letter’

The answers are not in the past. Healing comes from purpose and purpose resides in our hope of the future.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Richard Paul Evans  ‘The Locket – Esther Huish’s Diary’

That which we spend our lives hoping for is often no more than another chance to do what we should have done to begin with.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Richard Paul Evans  ‘The Carousel’

In the face of the lies told by depression, we must have courage to survive. And courage is best fed by hope. The sun will rise again. The only uncertainty is whether or not we will be there to greet it.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Richard Paul Evans  ‘The Sunflower’

Hope grabs on to whatever floats.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Michael Faber  ‘The Book of Strange New Things’

Hope is a fragile thing, as fragile as a flower. Its fragility makes it easy to sneer at, by people who see life as a dark and difficult ordeal, people who get angry when something they can’t believe in themselves gives comfort to others. They prefer to crush the flower underfoot, as if to say: See how weak this thing is, see how easily it can be destroyed. But, in truth, hope is one of the strongest things in the universe. Empires fall, civilisations vanish into dust, but hope always comes back, pushing up through the ashes, growing from seeds that are invisible and invincible.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Frederic Gros  ‘A Philosophy of Walking’

Hopefulness, basically, is a matter of belief than knowledge. To believe, to hope, to dream, beyond any achievement, any lesson, any past.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Internal transformation remains the pilgrim’s mystical ideal: he hopes to be absolutely altered on his return.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Peter Heller  ‘The Painter’

The reason people are so moved by art and why artists tend to take it all so seriously is that if they are real and true they come to the painting with everything they know and feel and love, and all the things they don’t know, and some of the things they hope, and they are honest about them all and put them on the canvas.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Robert Hillman  ‘The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted’

Happiness ran in her arteries and veins and reached every part of her body and being.

Do you see how things turn out? Do you see that the world is big enough to make certain things possible? That thirty-six years ago the German Student Union could hold a rally in Opernplatz, Berlin, and burn twenty-five thousand books, many written by Jews, the students rejoicing in their festival of loathing, and now this, in Hometown. Hannah’s bookshop of the broken hearted, a thing of beauty.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Kay Redfield Jamison  ‘Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide’

When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralysed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Rachel Joyce  ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’

If we can’t be open, if we can’t accept what we don’t know, there really is no hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Anne Lamott

Hope begins in the dark; the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Christy Lefteri ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’

Mustafa has sent me another message. He is waiting for me in the north of England in Yorkshire. I remember how his words kept me moving. ‘Where there are bees there are flowers, and where there are flowers there is new life and hope.’

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

The picture she had drawn was so different from her usual artwork – a flower-filled field overlooked by a single tree.

‘But how did you draw this? I said.

‘I can feel the pencil marks on the paper.’

I looked at the picture again. The colours were wild- the tree blue, the sky red. The lines were broken, leaves and flowers out of place, and yet it held a beauty that was mesmerising and indescribable, like an image in a dream, like a picture of a world that is beyond our imagination.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

‘Please,’ she says, ‘don’t lose hope. That’s the thing.’ There is a tone of resignation in her voice and she is pulling at the strand of hair. ‘This is what I always tell people, you see. Never, never, never lose HOPE.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

But it is Afra’s face that brings me to life, standing there in this tiny garden like she stood in Mustafa’s courtyard in Aleppo, her eyes so full of sadness and hope, so full of darkness and light.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

C. S. Lewis

Hope is the only thing that will keep you from despair.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Gordon Livingston  ‘Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart’

It is the job of the psychotherapist to re-instil hope. I frequently ask patients, “What are you looking forward to? People who are overwhelmed by anxiety or depression often have no answer.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Encouraging people to change is an exercise in shared hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

This is what passes for hope: those we have lost evoked in us feelings of love that we didn’t know we were capable of. These permanent changes are their legacies, their gifts to us. It is our task to transfer that love to those who still need us. In this way we remain faithful to their memories.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

The primary goal of parenting, beyond keeping our children safe and loved, is to convey to them a sense that it is possible to be happy in an uncertain world, to give them hope… If we can demonstrate in our own lives qualities of commitment, determination, and optimism, then we have done our job.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Max Lucado  ‘The Candle of Hope’

As long as we can keep that candle of hope lit, as long as we can keep that spark of possibility afire, then we can stay strong.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Fiona McIntosh ‘The Pearl Thief’

I’d become cynical and I feared I was fast becoming resigned to hearing the knock at the door and seeing German police with their hated swastika badges arriving for us. Imprisonment, being worked to death in some place like Terezin, felt inevitable. Dare I admit that death sounded not exactly welcome but perhaps the best outcome? My life until 1939 had been full of possibility and promise; now it felt like my world had reduced itself to blocks of twenty-four-hours, each of them filled with the angst of survival. This was no time for ambition or dreaming… but I allowed myself a tiny streak of hope, like the first slash of dawn as morning cuts through night. Thin but luminous hope sustained me that I might live to see the world at peace again, that I would make it through whatever fresh trauma came our way in order to bear witness to a Nazi humiliation.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Dr Louis E. Lagrand  ‘Healing Grief, Finding Peace’

Hope comes from the simple gift of human presence.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     •••••• 

Gordon Livingston  ‘Only Spring: on mourning the death of my son’

As I try to face my own grief and confusion, I wonder about everything I have done and been. I struggle to make sense out of what has happened, but this feels like yet another futile exercise, of no real importance to anyone, and in the end, a wasted attempt to understand the unknowable…. For the sake of those who still love and depend on me, I must have hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Quote: “The kind of hope I often think about (especially in hopeless situations) is, I believe, a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t. Hope is not prognostication – it’s an orientation of the spirit. Each of us must find real, fundamental hope within himself. You can’t delegate that to anyone else.

Hope in this deep and powerful sense is not the same as joy when things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something to succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism.

It’s not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is this hope, above all, that gives us strength to live and to continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily, without meaning, without love, and, finally, without hope.”      (Vaclav Havel ‘Disturbing the Peace)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

National Action Alliance For Suicide Protection 2014

Hope is a key protective factor against suicidal behaviour, and it is a catalyst for the recovery process.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Parker J. Palmer

Hope keeps me alive and creatively engaged with the world.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Robert H. Schuller  

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Dutch Sheets  ‘The Power of Hope’

Quote: “Hope is the immune system of the human soul.” (Rev. Sean Smith)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope will enable you to overcome the pain of your loss, the stigma of your shame, and the paralysing power of fear.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope will become your lifeline; your stabiliser.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Without hope life is sterile, unfruitful. Without it dreams won’t be conceived; destinies won’t be realised.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is the incubator where faith is formed.

 • ••  •••   ••••    •••••     •••••• 

If there is no hope for the future there will be no faith to face it.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is to the heart what seeds are to the earth.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

To be without hope is to start the dying process. Hopelessness, if not checked, is a death sentence.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

The loss of hope is crippling, making us little more than spectators in life.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope deferred is the common cold of the soul, except that this virus can kill.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

The loss of hope produces resignation, fear, unbelief, loss of passion, retreat from life, and a host of other heart disease maladies.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

The loss of hope imprisons the soul.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Quote: “No matter what life brings to us, we can recalibrate our hearts and set ourselves on a course to trust God, receive, and walk in hope.” (Pastor Beni Johnson)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

You don’t have to be well to hope, but you do have to hope to become well.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

In spite of the impossibility of my situation, I will hope anyway.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Quote: “Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is dancing to it.” (Ruben Aves)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Rebecca Solnit  ‘Hope in the Dark’

Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Quote: “Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naïveté.”
(Maria Popova, Bulgarian writer).

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Power comes from the shadows and the margins. Our hope is in the dark around the edges, not in the limelight of centre stage.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is the basis for action.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Quote: “Memory produces hope in the same way that amnesia produces despair.”                                                     (Walter Brueggeman, theologian).

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Jill Stark  ‘Happy Never After’

The most fundamental of human qualities – the capacity for hope and perseverance.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Helplessness was an appealing familiar place that would have allowed me to abdicate all control and give up, railing against the hand I’d been dealt. Handing the reins to despair and anger only entrenches our suffering. Finding hope and gratitude in that dark night of the soul allowed me to tap into a part of myself I didn’t know was there but I now suspect had always existed. I discovered that it is not our greatest joys that have the power to transform but our deepest pain. The things we think will destroy us are so often the pathways to growth and healing.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Miriam Toews  ‘All My Puny Sorrows’

Elf had been inspired by the ochre paintings on the rock, by their impermeability and their mixed message of hope, reverence, defiance, and eternal aloneness.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Majok Tulba  ‘When Elephants Fight’

Hope will keep you strong, even when everything else deserts you.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

You did what you could. You survived. Now what you have to do is keep your hope alive. Because without it, we’re as weak and fragile as grass in a summer fire.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Desmond Tutu  

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Ann Voskamp

Hope is what holds a breaking heart together.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

The moment we let hope die, part of us dies.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

As long as you still are, all is not lost. Being is hope, and hope is presence, and this present moment is a gift pulsing with hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope doesn’t promise success to the strong, but resurrection to the wrecked.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

You have to keep holding on to Hope to keep holding on.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we hope for – but we all hope for a life that gives us hope over and over again.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

To live is to hope.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

You may not know where you lost some of your Hope – and you never know when Hope will find you again.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

You have to keep finding your Hope when you’ve lost it, or you lose your way.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

You have to let Hope always carry you or fears will carry you away.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope only seems lost – when you can’t find a way forward.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

No matter where you are – in the unknown and unfamiliar – Hope is like a homing pigeon that knows how to find its way back home to you.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope’s just up ahead nodding that it’s going to be okay – you will be okay.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hold fast to Hope – for if  Hope ebbs away, you become a broken wing who cannot fly.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Hope is the thing with wings

That lands at the end of you

And shows you how to open to possibilities

So you never close again.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Jesmyn Ward   ‘Men We Reaped’

I knew that I lived in a place where hope and a sense of possibility were as ephemeral as morning fog, but I did not see the despair at the heart of our drug use.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Penelope Wilcock

Life is sustained by hope, in all of us.

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

Philip & Carol Zaleski  ‘The Fellowship’

“Belief in the ultimate triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, logos over chaos, bestowed upon all the oppositions in his life – scholarship and art, male friendship and marriage, high spirits and despair – a final and satisfying unity, a deep and abiding joy.” (J. R. R. Tolkien on ‘Hope’)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••

We are in a pagan world, consoled by intimations of Gospel hope, rumours of grace. Hence, do not expect God to show his hand; nor, for that matter, does a wise Christian claim knowledge of the exact workings of grace. Help comes “unlooked-for” –

Optimism must die so that hope unlooked-for – or, in Lewis’s words, “good news, news beyond hope” – may live.(C. S. Lewis)

• ••  •••   ••••    •••••     ••••••