What makes hopeful people hopeful?

This series of eight blog posts explores six ‘core conditions’ of well-grounded hopefulness, or conscious hope. Please read and share – all feedback is welcome, too. Thank you!

1. Into the life of the world (a)

I’ve been sitting down with people who work with hope in some way: activists, refugees, a nurse, chaplains, psychotherapists, people without homes, and community workers. What are they striving for, what motivates them, what in their lives and world has brought them to ‘hope’s work’? In these blogs I’ll be introducing you to some of them…

2. Into the life of the world (b)

This blog series is about people of hope: how are some people and communities able to live and act in hope, conscious though they are of a future that may be becoming harder to face?…

3. A place of promise

‘Hope is something you make every day’. This is Basma, and the first thing she tells me about hope. When a militia came to burn down her home in Libya, she and her daughters ran for their lives under a barrage of bullets. Now Basma lives in Liverpool as a refugee, caring alone for her children, working odd jobs, studying human rights. I ask her the difference between real hope and false, and she says, ‘You have to face the tragedy of the world.’…

4. Facing tragedy

In these blogs we’re exploring six qualities of consciously hopeful people and communities. We’ve looked at the first two so far: involvement in the life of the world, rather than distance from it; and a feeling for the vitality of people and planet, rather than indifference to it. This week’s post is about a third: the readiness to face tragedy…

5. Ripening the times

If you’ve been reading these blogs from the beginning (thank you) then you’ll know I’ve been introducing people who are well-grounded in their hope. So far we’ve looked at three qualities they share in common. All feel involved, or ‘rolled in’, with the life of the world around them; all share a feeling for the world’s vitality and promise, which charges their lives and work; and all are willing to face up to the world as a tragically violent place…

6. To be or not to be

In last week’s blog we were looking at how hopeful people find, in a world that seems locked down by the powerful, that it’s actually a place of continuous change, where ‘the power of the powerless’ counts. For people well-grounded in hope, even our stubbornly violent ways carry the potential to move towards well-being and justice…

7. Who’s with us?

In last week’s blog we found that people of hope, unlike those who are simply optimistic, don’t depend on a future in which all the brokenness of the world gets fixed. For as long as the life around them deserves love, they’ll stand with it and walk with it – they do the work of hope whatever its outcome may be…

8. Bringing it home

This final post weaves together the six strands of conscious hopefulness that this blog series has been exploring and wonders how to hold them well. Here they all are, summarised as queries: