"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."
I have heard many definitions of hope. It seems to be a quality that is essential for the human soul to flourish in life on earth.
Winston Churchill believed, "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." Although he left hope for last, it is perhaps the most valuable, being a human emotion that motivates and encourages us in times of stress and negativity. In fact, we often think "hopelessness" is the end of the road.
When we have hope, as Shakespeare said, "Hark, there's hope in her soul," we are looking forward to better times and not wallowing in the past or even the present conditions. So hope propels us forward.
Albert Einstein put it another way, saying "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." With the addition of his advice to keep on questioning, we see hope as a vehicle for growth. As long as we are exploring and remain open to learning under any given circumstance, we have the opportunity to make even the worst condition a learning experience. In other words, as my friend Rev. Joy Young would say, "Another AFGO--Another Frustrating Growth Opportunity!"
Still turning to the wisdom of sages, I am enlightened and delighted by the words of Mark Twain: "Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms." If we can't grow and blossom from our inner core of being, then all the hope in the world cannot suffice.
I do believe that hope is generated by faith, and that it carries with it the belief that there is some spiritual truth to be had if we persist and pursue it.
My grandchildren, as most children will, express hope in things to come. Perhaps it is because they still believe in magic or because they haven't yet come to witness the cruelty and disappointment in our world. They are the ultimate optimists, and indeed, if we think about it, many of our world's greatest prophets, philosophers, and souls have had a childlike belief in the far-fetched and impossible. When he was just a little guy, my grandson Kyle would want to go places that we adults knew weren't open. He'd always say, "Maybe they are." Then his sister Ariel came along with a similar belief that things could go her way with, "You never know." Now the littlest one, McKenzie just goes about things as if they will, of course, go her way, no questions asked and no doubts!
Wise Spirit of Truth, open my mind and heart to all the blessings you have in store for me, as I continually commit to faith-filled belief in your goodness.