Hope is the thing with feathers.
Happy New Year! Here we are at 2022 – can you believe it??
I hope each of you had a lovely holiday season. I sure did. Warren got me a plush robe which I wore over my pajamas for two straight weeks and it was glorious.
Today, as we head into 2022, I want to share a few thoughts on hope. We’ve been through – and continue to experience – some really tumultuous years. Years that lead me to question where I can find hope in the world.
Anytime I think about hope, I’m reminded of my favorite poem from Emily Dickinson.
Do you know which one I’m referring to? All of Dickinson’s poems are titled numerically and my favorite is poem 254. You can read the full poem here, but I am particularly drawn to the first four lines, which read:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
Warren has always made fun of me for liking the poem. He says, “Huh??? I don’t get it.”
I’m no great interpreter of poems or literature – but here is what the poem says to me… Hope is like a bird that sings on inside of me even when I have no words to explain my struggle.
Can you relate to the feeling of running out of words to describe how you feel? Or of simply the exhaustion that comes from trying to make sense of it all?
Lately, I’ve run out of explanations for the pain and suffering around me, however, I do feel a continuous and quiet hope inside of me that brighter days are ahead.
Over the break, I began reading The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams (it’s so good – highly recommend!)
One of the interesting points that Jane makes in the book is that hope is sometimes misunderstood as a “weak response or passive acceptance.” However, Jane says that, more often than not, hope requires action.
She defines hope like this, “Hope is what enables us to keep going in the face of adversity. It is what we desire to happen, but we must be prepared to work hard to make it so.”
Jane goes on to focus on four reasons for hope in her book:
- The Amazing Human Intellect,
- The Resilience of Nature,
- The Power of Young People, and
- The Indomitable Human Spirit
When I think back on the last couple of years, there has been so much pain and loss – but there has also been evidence of hope, hasn’t there?
I think about the amazing human intellect that was required to create a life-saving vaccine so quickly.
I think about the story of The Survivor Tree, and how the badly damaged tree at 9/11’s ground zero is such an incredible example of the resilience of nature.
I think about young voices like Amanda Gorman and Greta Thunberg who are bringing about change through their words and action.
And I think about how all of us, with our indomitable human spirits, have adapted to a world that looks so different than it did two years ago.
As I look ahead at the empty calendar in front of me, I’m going to be thinking about the choices and actions I want to take in order to have a direct impact on the changes I hope to see in the world.
How are you feeling as we head into 2022? I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.J