Saturday, June 28, 2008


I married a man who had a secret fantasy. He hoped to live in a place with a view. Being a patient man, not to mention thrifty, he moved into the basement suite I was renting. Its large windows looked into the basement windows of other apartments on both sides. The living room commanded a foundational view of the back yard double garage. He did not fret. He knew we would move on.
From our second basement suite—basement suites were cheaper than loftier places—he had a grass roots view of the front lawn and any feet that happened to be passing along the sidewalk. He did not fret about this one either. There was nowhere to go but up.
Our first home with a mortgage stood on a busy Calgary street. Across the wide expanse of service road, median and traffic artery lay the vista from the rear end of a Zeller’s store.
Shopping was oh-so-convenient. Our second house looked across at other houses. I never cared for that house, so moving out of it took little negotiation.
In front of our third house stood three trees on a tiny island that a street architect had inexplicably created. Cars liked to go around it. Friends would stand at the window and say how nice it was not to have to look directly into other houses. That view lasted us for 23 years.
Twenty-three years is a long time—long enough to raise a family of babies, long enough to contemplate the next move, time enough to search for just the right place. This was the point where my husband began to come to terms with the unintended consequences of marrying a blind person. In order to win her heart, a prospective house has to offer more than a view.
If you have a lot of money, the world is your oyster. You can contemplate luxurious castles and executive penthouses overlooking breath-taking panoramic vistas that stretch across the river and the urban skyline all the way to the wheat fields beyond the outer suburban reaches. Less money gives you fewer choices. Guided by his quest for beauty, we journeyed to a house advertised as “stainless industrial non-allergenic interior.” But even as we clattered up the open-backed metal stairs leading from the front door to the living room, with my promises to be openminded still ringing in my ears, I began to pine for “homey, warm and intimate.” He chanced upon a dwelling with its panoramic kitchen so far above the garage that a dumbwaiter had been installed to lift the groceries. But the dumbwaiter was smart enough to make the people walk the stairs. The trip was an exercise in—well—exercise. I thought of all the furniture the dumbwaiter would be smart enough not to carry and persuaded him to keep on looking. He admired the valley from a tall narrow house where the master bedroom closet and most of the living room had been replaced by an elevator. Though I had to admit that the trip to the view in this one was a little less exhausting, I found I had been hoping for a closet and a living room.
On and on went the search until finally, we found a place with carpeted stairs, large closets and a living room thrown in with the bargain. It has what I call a diagonal view. It stands at the bottom of a bank looking up in a westward direction across the slope and the trees to the buildings on the cliff high above. And if the sun sets at our house two hours earlier than it does in other neighbourhoods, which is definitely the case at this time of year, well, even the luckiest people can’t have everything. Some sacrifices have to be made in order to get a view.
And what lies in the future? Well, we might move to a hilltop, or it is just possible that we will some day give up our garden and retire to the 20th floor of a high rise. Perhaps it will be a large, homey, intimate apartment with windows on three or four sides. Possibly it will have several elevators as well as a living room. Or maybe, like our present place, it will be something we cannot yet imagine.
One lesson life has taught us. At the start of any process there are usually more options than we can name.

Friday, June 27, 2008


These may not be the sexiest things to invent, but I’ll be grateful to the one who invents any of them.

Mammograms so gentle they make you smile and beg for another.
A way to clean your teeth perfectly the day before you visit the dental hygienist, even if you haven’t flossed since two days after the last time you saw her.
A DVD player a blind person can operate.
Clog-free toilets.
Dog poop that picks itself up.
Motorcycles that automatically hush themselves when they irritate somebody.
Something to neutralize salt or chilli powder after you add too much.
Flies that are willing to be swatted.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Once upon a time there was a hopeful story. It was only a little story, a tale from past experience. But its theme was so compelling, its content so alluring, its timing so profoundly, precisely perfect that the little hopeful story became very powerful. How powerful was it? It was so powerful that when it fell upon ears fitted with filters that were open only to hopeless stories, it slipped through. It was so powerful that when it reached the dense layer of hopelessness that filled the space just inside the eardrums, it slipped right through. It was so powerful that when it shouted, “Hey, is there a hoping self in there?” the tiny little hoping self, the eeny-weeny battered, baffled, curled-up hoping self that everybody thought was dead, opened its eyes and yawned. It blinked a few times, flexed its cramped muscles, and struggled to its feet. Then it followed the hopeful story out through the thick layers of hopelessness, on through the ears that had been previously closed to hopeful stories, and into the world. The eeny-weeny hoping self licked its lips and said, “Maybe this time things will turn out better than I expect.” And the ears could hear it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


According to today’s edition of the Edmonton Journal, Raymond Loo, a farmer in Hunter River, in central P.E.I., has a contract with a Japanese company to produce 1,400 kg of dried dandelion root, used as a diuretic
and coffee substitute in Japan. He can’t take the dandelions from our lawn because his have to be certified organic and pesticide free.

To my lawn I go to practice my motivational speaking. "Dandelions unite! Leave this wicked place of persecution and harassment. Move to a land where your children and grandchildren will be free to grow! Cling not to your troubled past. Flee from your abusers! Don’t look back! Leave not a trace. Peace and freedom await you. Go now! Go swiftly! Good-bye!"

And the dandelions ask, "Who are you kidding?"

It's not easy to fool dandelions.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


“This may be the million dollar question you are trying to answer, says the newspaper reporter. ”But can you define what you mean by hope?”
The implication of his question is clear. He’s not going to be able to take the topic of hope research seriously unless I can clearly define what we are talking about. His approach sets my memory into overdrive, recalling all the conversations I’ve had with reporters over the years, conversations that started just the way this one has. It’s a slow but worthwhile process, educating one reporter at a time.
As we start down the path toward shared understanding, I am aware that there is an obstacle to overcome. It is, to be sure, a paradoxical obstacle. He believes that he has asked the million dollar question. His words suggest that the question has no answer. He is reflecting a very common belief that hope cannot be defined and therefore cannot be studied.
Though he may think there is no definition, the million dollar question has many answers, and all of them are correct. There are a number of well-respected definitions. Like excellent dinners, they have a lot in common when you look at the basics. Most of the differences lie in the final touches. Hope experts choose one that works for the job they need it to do. Some definitions focus more on the cognitive end of things. Others focus more on the emotional.
Since my own work is largely in the counselling area, often with people who still have hope, even though they are not totally in control of things that are causing them grief, I need a comprehensive definition with a good deal of flexibility. My preferred definition comes from Charlotte Stephenson in the nursing literature. It has grown from the body of research that developed a definition by asking people questions about hope.
Hope is: A process of anticipation that involves the interaction of
thinking, acting, feeling and relating, and is directed toward a future
Fulfillment that is personally meaningful" (Charlotte Stephenson, 1991, p.
1459). Thinking, feeling, acting, relating, future fulfillment, personally meaningful, in the context of counselling, there's a lot you can do with that. It means something to people who are suicidal, or grieving the loss of several loved-ones, or facing the prospect of imminent death, or fighting gang violence. When you have a conversation about hope, you sort out the tangle of thoughts, feelings, actions and relationships. As you untangle, you begin to see possibilities for a future fulfillment that is personally meaningful.
Different people use hope for different purposes. Newspaper reporters write about hope all the time. They use the word in articles that cover just about everything. They use it with confidence, certain that their readers will understand their meaning. As far as I can tell, they have few worries about hope’s definition until they find themselves interviewing hope researchers. This, I think, is because they already know what they need to know in order to make use of hope.
Our human understanding of any topic or thing is a layered phenomenon. Take water for example. All of us know that water is wet, something we drink, and something we use to clean. When we take a chemistry class we learn its chemical formula. Geologists know about the relationship between water and soil. Bridge designers understand how it impacts building materials. Health experts explore the relationship between water and digestion. We all know what water is. We observe that hot water is different from cold water. We are taught that tap water is different from distilled water. But in our complex world, where many things impact water, there is so much we don’t know about water that we will likely be studying it for thousands of years.
So it is with hope. We all know something’s about it. It is a feeling we have about the future, a good feeling. Some people have more of it than others. Most of us go looking for it when disaster strikes.
Like the geologists and bridge builders who study the behaviors and impacts of water, those who want to know more than the basics about hope have their own reasons for being interested. Some believe that more knowledge can improve the medical system, others the educational system. I study it because I believe that knowledge about hope can improve the practice of counselling. And every once in a while, a newspaper reporter gets interested because he wants to write an informed article about hope. Some of the people who read that article will get interested for their own reasons. For us hope enthusiasts, that is cause for celebration.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (INCORRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO
Nelson Mandela)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens
us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine,
as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own
light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates

And so, if this is indeed our greatest fear, and if fear, as some people say, is the greatest enemy of hope, then it leaves us no choice but to wonder: What would a powerful person do?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


We were down in the Peace River valley, just at the Dunvegan Bridge when I heard them—frogs chanting—a mantra for rest, and country and peace.
“I haven’t heard enough frogs in my life,” I said to David. I was thinking nostalgically about the farm, about long childhood evenings on the east porch listening to the frogs in the slough half a mile away. The memory was fragrant, idyllic, completely devoid of mosquitoes, which means it probably was not an accurate memory.
“We’ll have to move to the country then,” said David. He said it with a smile. He said it with the confidence of one who knows he is on safe ground. There are no city buses in the country, no taxis you can afford. My love affair with the frogs would last only until the first time I wanted to go out and had nobody to drive me. They say you can’t take the country out of a country girl, but in my case, they are wrong. We went back to the city.
At home the next evening I opened our north bedroom window. I listened. I listened again. There it was, the chant of frogs, loud enough to be heard over the din of traffic on Jasper Avenue just above us, loud enough to be heard over the hum of the cars and buses crossing Dawson Bridge. I listened in wonder. Is it possible to wish frogs into existence? It is our sixth summer in this house, six open-windowed summers. We are near the river, but not the marsh. We hear gulls, ducks, geese and boats but never once in six years had I heard any frogs.
I mentioned the frogs to David. I could see he had his doubts. But the next night, when they were there again, I made him come to listen. “Frogs,” he affirmed.
“There,” I said. “Now we don’t have to move.”
It’s a good thing I made him listen, because that was the last night they chanted. I didn’t want to mention them again. I went back to Turner Classic Movie Channel, where they play a lot of old movies with frog soundtracks.
This has been a hectic spring. Three weekends in a row I travelled to Calgary. It rained. The first weekend’s rain didn’t bother me much because I was working. The second weekend’s rain didn’t bother me too much after the bride moved the wedding indoors, abandoning her plans for an outdoor wedding at Heritage Park with prenuptial champagne on the midway. The third weekend’s rain wasn’t so bad given that its bride’s family had procured tents for her outdoor wedding. Yes, they’ve had a lot of rain in Calgary.
Because of the rain, the vacant industrial land outside the Sandman Airport Hotel where we stayed last weekend was drenched and waterlogged. Oblivious to the cool wet weather, our room was airless and hot. So we were please to find that, unlike most hotels, its windows could be opened. No sooner was the window open than I heard them—a chorus of frogs, sounded like dozens of them. All night long they sang and most of the next day. When the sky cleared after the wedding they sang beneath the round full moon—a song of rest, peace and celebration. The music went on all night. I had to go home just to get some rest.
I still haven’t heard enough frogs in my life. But we’re getting there.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Dewitt Jones says, “I won’t see it til I believe it.“ What an extraordinary thing to say! He’s a photographer from National Geographic. If you want to see his video—Celebrate What’s Right With The world—go to
I love how it turns our rational notion of discovery on its head. It’s the sort of thinking that makes sense to a hope specialist.
It is summer time and I have a few spare moments to do some serious hope reading. For the millionth time I am struck by the ever-present paradox of hope science. Scholars outdo themselves trying to make their hope research look scientific. They develop measuring instruments. They make graphs and correlations. They present at conferences. When you meet these scholars you can’t help but notice that they are studying hope because they believe it is important.
When I ask them why they go to the trouble to make the measures and do the graphs, they tell me they have to do it to convince the scientists. They don’t need to convince themselves, they tell me, because they already believe it. But, they say, the scientists need proof. They have to see it before they’ll believe it.
I myself am not skeptical about hope. I wasn’t skeptical when I started working with it. So it may not be too surprising that I could keep on experimenting with hope strategies, over and over again, until I could get them to work so reliably that I could demonstrate them in impromptu interviews in classroom situations.
But I do notice that people who are skeptical about the importance of hope aren’t much interested in studying it. Perhaps this is why I am now testing the theory that you have to inspire them before you will get the chance to convince them. It is just possible that after you’ve inspired them, you won’t have to convince them at all. They’ll talk themselves into it and produce the evidence they need.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


And this year’s new veranda flower is …………Zinnia!
“You’ll like zinnias,” Sandra said when she heard the announcement. “They are big bright flowers. Mom used to grow them.”
I’m not sure why we haven’t grown zinnias before. Probably it’s because the greenhouse flowers tend to be laid out in alphabetical order and our trays are usually overflowing by the time we get to the petunias. In the flower world, as in the people world, there are advantages to having a name that’s closer to A. Still it is surprising that we never got zinnias. They were already in flower when we brought them home, and even when our trays are full, we can often find a finger to balance one extra blooming carton And now they flourish in the #2 long cedar planter, their multi-coloured splendour growing bigger and brighter every day. “They’re so perfect,” says Amy giving them the practiced planter’s eye. “You’d almost think they were plastic.”
Meanwhile, in planters #4 and #5, last year’s new flowers—asters and amaranthus--are making a comeback. Amaranthus seeded a few of her own babies, just in case we decided not to replant. But she needn’t have worried. We couldn’t forget those long dangly flowers. We made an extra greenhouse visit for amaranthus.
“I don’t see any sign of flowers on the asters,” says David.
I remind him that we got the asters last year knowing full well we would have to wait for August blooms. I assure him that we thought they were worth the wait. I know this because I wrote it down. Experience has taught me to write everything down about flowers, especially the things I feel certain I cannot forget. We are expecting amaranthus flowers in July. And if only I had written about the purple bearded iris, I would know who gave it to us. I must have thought I would never forget. Maybe it was one of the few original flowers that greeted us from their mint-infested beds when we bought the house.
But the award for big flower surprise of this year will have to be given to the sweet peas that self-seeded from last year’s crop. Some of them will be in flower by the end of the week. A June flowering? Whoever heard of such a thing? We have not known sweet peas to self-seed in thirty-two summers of sweet pea growing in three different yards why this year? And why did they take root four feet from the original location, several inches below the ground? Why were there so many—maybe thirty?
Could have been something quirky in the weather. Could have been some special variety. We never kept records of sweet pea seeds. The truth is, we don’t know. Maybe we will never know. Just as we cannot now anticipate next year’s new flower. Will its name start with E, or even U? It’s this evidence in support of the unexpected that keeps us interested, keeps us hoping.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Rachel says she notices that when you give a self-care workshop
People at the workshop tend to ask, “How can I care for others?’

And Wendy says she notices that when you give a caring-for-others workshop
People at the workshop tend to say, I really need to use this for myself.

Compelled by an irresistible urge we take an idea that works in one place
Then carry it off like a seed on the wind and entice it to grow in another.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Today I am reading about childhood sexual abuse and thinking about hope. Rachel and I are preparing to offer a hope series for parents of sexually abused children. We will need to be compassionate. We will need to know where our own hope can be found. So far the hunt for hope resources is still on. The question I would like to be addressing is this: How can I care about a child who has been sexually abused and be hopeful at the same time?

So far I have found some things. I’ve found stories written by survivors. Several of them mention hope. But of course, they talk a lot about the trauma and how hard they had to work to get past it. That’s what makes their stories notable. But I don’t feel very hopeful saying: it can be overcome but the child will have to work really, really hard. So I continue the search.

There are statistics. On the most thorough pages there are a lot of disqualifiers. Childhood sexual abuse is not measured by consistent standards. Different studies get different numbers. The thorough pages list all the numbers. Then I notice that the less thorough websites tend to quote the highest numbers, without quoting the smaller numbers. And I wonder why anyone would choose to discredit the smaller numbers by not mentioning them.

I go to the website of the American Psychological association. It carries a long list of bad effects childhood sexual abuse has on children. Then it says: In short, the ill effects of child sexual abuse are wide ranging. There is no one set of symptoms or outcomes that victims experience. Some children even
report little or no psychological distress from the abuse, but these children may be either afraid to express their true emotions or may be denying their
feelings as a coping mechanism. Other children may have what is called "sleeper effects." They may experience no harm in the short run, but suffer serious
problems later in life.”” (

This is where I lose my temper. What I read here is that if a child reports no ill effects, we psychologists don’t believe him or her. We say the child is probably in denial, and will likely experience bad effects later.

What I see here is a media approach that has failed to attend to any evidence that would give us hope. If I am to run a hope group for parents of children who have been sexually abused I will need to believe that their children will likely be okay. It would be nice to have the evidence, but we don’t hear much from people who experienced sexual abuse and then moved on. Why would they tell us they are okay? They have, after all, moved on. I will also need to believe that even if they told us they were okay, we professionals may choose to disbelieve them, expecting them to fall apart later. It sounds a little like the olden days, where it is said that children who told stories of sexual abuse were not believed.

If I am to run a hope group, then I will need to believe that children of this generation are better off than those in the past, because our society has made a commitment to hearing their stories and setting up systems to protect them. Hopefully, in the next generation of adults, today’s children will be less traumatized than their predecessors. Hopefully they will tell the stories of how our openness helped them get past their trauma. May we be open to hope. That’s my hope.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Recently I have begun to wonder how my enormous experience with hope in conversation might be useful to managers. When I posed the question to my husband, he responded that my experience in hope has been incredibly useful in his management role. He said he has learned to think about the need to be positive before he speaks, and to govern his language according to that need.

The credit for making these linkages goes entirely to him. He has gained his knowledge through a process of seepage over the years—sitting in on my Saturday morning hope presentations to foster parents and cancer patients; manning the book table during my hope workshops at conferences on elder care and clinical hypnosis. He’s taken the inspiration from my stories about impossible things becoming possible, and things turning out better than expected. He has noticed how language changes perspective. But the day is rapidly approaching when managers will not have to learn these things through seepage. Hope will be a popular topic in management training.

There’s a new trend in hope studies these days. People are beginning to ask how hope strategies could help managers do their work more effectively.
Though much attention continues to focus on strategies for sustaining hope when people are ill or otherwise challenged, and hope continues to be a topic of great interest to doctors nurses and social workers, hope is finding its way into management theory. Books and articles that take hope seriously are beginning to appear.

If there’s one excellent reason why managers ought to be interested in hope it is this: Hope and hopelessness are silent factors in most work environments, active yet unacknowledged. Research in the counselling world has shown that new opportunities for growth are created when the influence of hope and hopelessness is brought out into the open. Many of the strategies we use for making hope explicit in counselling can be applied in other types of conversations as well. They can be used in one-on-one encounters and also in group settings. Hope and hopelessness shape individual and group behavior. So it is not surprising that management theorists are beginning to pay attention to hope.

Hope is a motivator that keeps people moving forward. It is the underlying emotion that makes us want to pursue goals. Not only do we hope to achieve goals, but goals often make up part of a large picture with hope at its centre. Our underlying hopes give goals their importance and personal meaning. Hope is a complex, yet simple concept. It is a feeling that changes the nature of thoughts, actions and relationships. High levels of hope, according to the research, can be linked with success at just about everything. People with high hope scores do better at athletics and academics. They cope better with illness and pain. Hopeful people direct attention toward a future that seems important to them.

Hopelessness, in contrast, is a de-motivator. It is the absence of purpose that keeps people plodding forward without inspiration, confines them in the old ruts, limits them to sticking with what is familiar. Without stepping out to take either credit or blame, hopelessness gets in the way of many things that could be happening.

People in general are interested in talking about hope, reducing hopelessness and rallying around hope symbols. This interest can create opportunities. Managers could now be using knowledge about hope and hopelessness to make things better in the workplace. Ultimately there will be management training in the area of hope. You can see it coming.

Hope theory and management theory have begun reaching out to one another. Patricia Bruininks and Bertram Malle have conducted conversational research to identify perceived differences between hopes and goals.
Longtime hope scholar Kay Herth has emerged from a nursing context to write about the role of a hope leader. Management consultants Harry Hudson and Barbara Perry have built a management book around five principles for promoting and sustaining hope in organizations.

As hope theory and management theory converge, managers will find themselves learning how to talk about hope. Like other management training, the hope training will start with big ideas and move toward practical strategies that make sense to the trainees. The gap between the big ideas and the small contextual strategies is still relatively unexplored. Most of the knowledge about how to inspire hope through guided conversation still rests in the counselling and nursing literature. It hovers expectantly at the brink of the gap, searching for bridges, waiting for invitations, preparing to cross over.

Bruininks, P. & Malle, B., (2005). Distinguishing hope from optimism and related affective states. Motivation And Behavior 29(4)
Herth, K. A. (2007). Hope-centered leadership in practice. Academic Leader, 23(8), 4-5.
Hudson H. & Perry, B., (2006). Putting hope to work: Five principles to activate your organization’s most powerful resource. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Every so often you meet somebody who says something that resonates. This happened to me last weekend. A stranger came to shake my hand following a hope presentation. She said, “You really put the meat on the bones of hope for me.”
She is the first person ever to say that to me. And so, even though I knew there was a risk of scattering my vegetarian followers, I began to wonder about the bones of hope. What are the bones of hope, anyway?

Main bone: HOPE MATTERS TO PEOPLE. They like it. They want it. Some say they need it. Some say they fear it. Some say they have lost it. But this is the thing that binds all these people together. Hope matters to them.

Second bone: HOPE RELATES TO OTHER THINGS! For whatever reason, be it psychological or physiological, people who have HOPE do better than people who don’t. There’s a ton of research that shows this. You can spend a whole day on that.

Third bone: HOPE SCARES PEOPLE!!!! Professionals are particularly susceptible to fearing it. They fear that if other people hope, they’ll be the ones left to mop up the tears after the big disappointment occurs. But professionals aren’t the only ones who fear hope. Most of us have small attacks from time to time.

Fourth bone: HOPE IS CONTAGEOUS!!! If you hang around people who have it, it’s hard to keep from catching some.

Fifth bone: HOPE CAN BE DEFINED!!! It is not, as many believe, an intangible idea. Hundreds of researchers have defined it and their definitions are quite similar. In my favourite definitions, hope is described as the involvement of thinking, feeling, acting and relating toward a future fulfillment that is personally meaningful. Now that is definitely not intangible.

Sixth bone: HOPE CAN BE MEASURED!!! Not everyone is interested in measuring hope, but those who wish to can use any one of a number of standardized, validated instruments. Some focus more attention on the emotional aspects, others on the cognitive. But a good selection is out there for anybody who wants to use them.

Seventh bone: HOPE CAN BE EVOKED!!! (or inspired, or activated, or nurtured, or fostered, or instilled). Say it any way you like. Hope can be evoked. This bone is my particular favourite. My work has focused almost entirely on the language, symbols, strategies and methods available to enhance the work of serious hope evokers.

There they are, seven of the larger bones that comprise the skeleton of hope. Most researchers find smaller bones and work away on them. They study hope in the context of cancer, or academic success, or business management, or childhood, or seniorhood. In any given presentation we can choose which bones to put the meat on.

My thanks go out to the stranger who enjoyed the meat of a hope presentation , and then, through the gift of thanks, brought my attention back to the bones.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


And the doctor who had just shown his PowerPoint
Saw the hope presentation that followed his,
The presentation about how to evoke the hope experience
And asked, “Is there any hard research to prove it?”
The medical system is committed to evidence.

So I felt a little foolish, defending myself
In the shadow of such a learned man.
And I felt that anything I could say about the mountains of hope research
Could not be enough to gain his respect.

But then I remembered seeing many doctors
For many things across the years
And coming away without a cure
Or researching the cure before I went
And asking for what had not been suggested.

So I figured I’d keep on talking about hope,
Even if they schedule the doctors first on the program
And give them more respect because they’re doctors
Remembering how often they schedule me at the end
Saying they have chosen me especially
Because, after hearing the doctors,
The audience will need some hope.

If you get a reputation for giving hope
Just by making a presentation
Then doesn’t that prove that hope can be evoked?
What more research do we need?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I was on my way to a synagogue to make a hope presentation on Sunday evening when I realized a surprising thing. Until that evening I had never been through the door of a Synagogue.
How peculiar, I thought. Have I not been to church most Sundays for the past fifty years or so? Have I not heard stories about the Jewish people every week? How curious that the worlds of Christians and Jews should overlap so much and yet touch each other so little!
I was one of four presenters. Two were from Calgary, two were from Edmonton. Two were Jewish. Two were not. I basked in the warm hospitality offered to me that evening, and again the next morning when I took my hope tools to Calgary Jewish Family Services. That little introduction got me interested. My first visit had its limits. I did not enter the sanctuary, only the church hall, to attend a panel presentation to which the general public had been invited. But alongside my amazement that my first visit should have come so far along in my life, I felt a surge of hope, aware that many new experiences are still waiting for me, not very far from home.