Hope: An Orientation of the Heart

It’s been a busy week, so I thought I would share a quote with you that was passed on at Re-Orientation. It’s from Vaclav Havel, a Czech politician instrumental in bringing democracy to his Czechoslovakia. In 1986, three years before becoming president of his country, Havel was asked, “Do you see a grain of hope anywhere in the 1980s?” He answered,

Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, and it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart…

Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed…

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out

It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”

The question could very well have referred to the present, and the answer would still hold true. As I begin to consider my path for post-JVC life and grapple with what is happening in the world, I’m doing my best to work towards what makes sense and what is good.

What is hope for you? Where do you find it? What makes sense to you and how do you work towards it?


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