Today’s post is a reflection by retreat presenter, Andrea Springer. She shares wisdom about hope from the 2020 New Year’s Eve retreat held at our Center. As we close this first month of the new year and continue to deal with the weight of the pandemic, let’s revive our hope today.
Hope: A Renewable Resource
On New Year’s Eve a small group gathered on the threshold of 2020 and 2021 to both reflect back and look ahead. We talked about the renewable resource that is hope, how it challenges us and how we refill ourselves and those around us. As the new year gets underway I thought it might be a good time to share some of the insights from that gathering.
Hope is more than optimism and positive thinking; it is a rich resource that enhances our individual and communal lives. We renew it by making the choice to practice, by returning to hope again and again. As Krista Tippett writes, “Hope…is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory. It’s a renewable resource for moving through life as it is, not as we wish it to be.” Ah, life as it is not as we wish it to be. Doesn’t that sum up 2020?
What I love about hope is the challenge, the wrestling, the facing reality and making the choice to live in hope. It’s not simple and it’s not easy, it requires commitment. The commitment is to rely on what I know about God; which, I admit, is not a lot. But I do know this, God created us for goodness not for woe. Hope requires that I rely on that and when it starts to drain, and the woe starts creeping in, I make the choice to reach down deep and recall that God is in it, whatever it is, even if it’s hard. Joyce Rupp writes: “Some of our situations include tough things that we have to bear, even when we do not want to do so. Certain aspects of life cannot be altered.” HOPE leads us to face and live through those situations.
As the New Year’s Eve gathering came to a close we focused on three strategies that can be used to keep choosing hope:
First, remember our roots, recall those experiences in life when we found hope or received it from someone else.
Second, don’t wallow in suffering and negativity, be where we are, accept the present moment and if necessary, take action.
Third, look to the future, keep moving forward, even if only in small steps.
As we stand at the opening of a new year, reach back and recall those moments of hope, bring those memories into the present moment and let them propel us forward into the days ahead.