Dealing in Hope.

So. Tell me. How have you been practising “hope” recently?

Are you a “Hope dealer”? (As opposed to any other type of “dealer”? 🙂 )

Confession time. Given both personal and professional challenges emerging during this Covid season, I’m not sure I have at times kept hope going strongly. Too much uncertainty, too many questions, time to ruminate and “circle the wagons”… (and I say this acknowledging that I am blessed with a roof over my head and food on the table).

Let me give you an example of practising hope, of being a “hope dealer”…

Researchers after WW2 discovered that those prisoners of war who best dealt with their horrendous and terrifying ordeal, where the individual’s who somehow managed to hold onto two diametrically opposed views of their situation at the same time…

They recognised that their daily struggle to live was horrendous, at times beyond understanding, yet they were able to hold onto a deep sense of hope that someday their situation would pass.

As a baby youth worker, I had the privilege of hearing Rev Ray Davey (who along with his wife Kathleen were the Founders of the Corrymeela Community) share some stories of his time as a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. He remembered that men who managed not to succumb emotionally and physically found daily reasons to practice hope…forming a Prison choir being one of his examples that sticks in my memory.

St. Julian of Norwich, one of our greatest Christian mystics is famous for saying…

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”.

Let me repeat that as it takes a bit of mental bandwidth…

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”.

The heart of the Christian message is not that life’s struggles and uncertainties are automatically and easily transformed by hope, rather that even amidst our darkest hour, somehow, hope endures. “And all shall be well…” as St. Julian teaches us.

The mystery and excitement of the faith is that God’s hope for each of us is embodied in and through His Son, His teachings, His life, His suffering and ultimately His resurrection.

No Hollywood hero stuff. Just God in the everyday, re-assuring us that “All shall be well…”

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