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. 

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit’s words build on yesterday’s practice by reminding us that it’s in the very spaciousness of uncertaintythat there’s room for us to act. This is hope embodied – not knowing how things will turn out nor the clear path forward, but acting nonetheless.

We can all point to beloved heroes – the Gandhis and Nelson Mandelas of the world – who have acted on behalf of an ideal or possibility even when the way forward was not at all clear, even when they knew that they wouldn’t live to see the full fruits of their labors. In her most recent work, The Book of Hope, Dr. Jane Goodall reminds us that the world depends on each of us doing our part; acting from hope is not only for extraordinary leaders. She writes: “…there is hope for our future… But only if we all get together and join forces. And I hope, too, that you understand the urgency of taking action, of each of us doing our bit.”

Day Four: Embodying Hope in Action

Take a few minutes to reflect – writing, on a walk, sitting quietly, in conversation with a friend – on what “doing your bit” may be at this particular moment in your life. Much like love, compassion, or gratitude, hope longs to be enacted and expressed in the world. It remains, otherwise, only a feeling – powerful but incomplete and fleeting.

  • Where are you most called to embody hope by taking action even if you can’t envision how you (or we) will ever achieve a needed change?
  • Is it something personal and close to home that beckons you to act with hope, despite uncertainty? …and/or…
  • Is it a larger community or global issue that leaves you asking yourself: What difference can I possibly make?

Once you’ve had some time to reflect, identify one hopeful action you can take this week, ideally today. Will you reach out to someone with encouragement or healing, give your time or resources to a cause you care about, create something, plant something, take a courageous step toward a goal?

Whatever you choose, do so with intentional hope, knowing that you may or may not witness the impact or ripple effect of your action – and trusting that it matters nonetheless. Act anyway, with gratitude for all those before us who did the same, whose hopeful actions and legacies have made our lives possible.

We invite you to share your reflections below: What action will you take, large or small, that embodies hope in your life, in the world?

Deepening Resource

Glory, with Musicians John Legend and Common, from the movie Selma

Set against a montage from the movie Selma, this performance of Glory is a powerful anthem of hope. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously spoke these words: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – reminding us that the fruits of our love and labor may come into being far beyond our own horizon.

Photo Credit: Andrej Lisakov