This week, I encountered a book that was published last summer. It’s called Hope: A User’s Manual by Maryann McKibben Dana.
The book title caught my attention because I’ve been thinking a lot about hope. In many ways, I’ve struggled to feel hopeful in the last year or so. I’m worried about so many things. I feel real concern about our planet and all the terrible things that seem to be happening due to climate change. The flooding in Vermont is just the latest example. (I am happy to report that the Reddaways are fine – their home is on a hillside – but the wider community of Barre has sustained some serious damage.) I’m also very concerned about the world political situation and the war in Ukraine. And I’m worried about what will happen in our county as we move into the 2024 presidential election. There are some concerning things happening in our larger extended family that have me worried too. I don’t know if this happens to you, but when I start to worry, it’s like I have blinders on, and I struggle to see what is good around me. And I start to feel like I am moving in molasses.
One of the things that Dana says in her book is that hope isn’t optimism or toxic positivity. It’s not a promise of future success or progress. Instead, hope demands that we do something with it. Hope is active and hope is action.
Interestingly, hope has also featured prominently in our scripture readings this summer. In the face of my worry, hope seems like it’s everywhere I look. I’m sensing the Spirit at work here! I’m curious, and I want to know more.
Maybe you do, too. If you’ve been struggling with hope, I invite you to join me in reading this book together. I’m planning a six week study, starting a little later this summer. You can order the book here in paperback or on Kindle. There are also copies on order at the Fairfax County Public Library.
Please drop me a note or talk to me if you want to be part of the book study. We’ll meet either hybrid (some in person and some on Zoom), or over Zoom only, and we’ll set a time that works for everyone.