Tuesday, May 31, 2011


People who ask this question usually have an answer in mind. Though the answers they give would seem to be contradictory, occupying the entire range of possibilities extending from “hope makes all things possible” to “hope sets you up for disappointment because you can never have the things you hope for”, each answer, given from the heart, rings with an element of truth for that person. This complicated truth presents a particular challenge when we strive to make hope explicit.
To be honest, I like some of the answers better than others. The ones I prefer are—you guessed it—the positive answers. What, after all, could please THE HOPE LADY more than a story about how hope triumphed over a host of terrible predictions, enabling people to try things they never would have tried without it?
In the earliest days of the Hope Foundation, when hope as a concept garnered little respect in professional circles, researchers combed the literature for studies that would demonstrate the ways in which hope helped people. They came up with plenty of evidence to support the worthiness of practices and strategies designed to foster and enhance hope. I am grateful for their efforts, and have used their findings on many occasions. Still, there remains one essential truth for THE HOPE LADY and that is this: If you are going to ask people to tell you about their experience of hope in a world where they are not solely in control, you have to be willing to live with whatever truth they give you.

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