As we begin the new year, I think it is safe to say, we were all hoping that Putin’s unjust and evil war against Ukraine would be over, and peace restored to the Ukrainian people. Tragically, this is not yet the case. But it is something that we hope for as we marvel at their courageous perseverance.
It is well worth our time to consider just what hope is. The late theologian and psychologist, William Lynch, in his book, “Images of Hope,” describes this virtue as, “the fundamental knowledge that there is a way out of difficulty, that things can work out and that we as human beings can somehow handle and manage internal and external reality.”
Two dynamics are essential for hope: the ability to wait (addressed in this issue) and patient endurance (in the next mailing). The ability to wait, in spiritual terms, is what the 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich learned: “All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” Despite the ills of our time – the war in Ukraine, the persistence of white supremacy, attacks on the value of human life, threats to our planet, and others – we can work against them and wait because we can say in hope that God is more powerful and more loving than any evil.
Author and educator, Parker Palmer, expands on the ability to wait in what he calls “Living in the Tragic Gap.” He writes: “By ‘the tragic gap’
I mean the gap between what is and what could and should be, the gap between the reality of a given situation and an alternative reality…That alternative reality is not a wish-dream or a fantasy, but a possibility we have seen with our own eyes.” The challenge is to hold the tension between what is and what could be.
Feel free to send me your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org