Hope In Hard Times

I have the fortune of being surrounded by a community of activists who work inside and outside systems to transform society. We’re organizers, youth workers, teachers, program administrators, organizational leaders, protesters, fundraisers, students, and elders. Spread widely throughout our society, collectively we represent a wide perspective of what is good, right, and real in our world today. This is where my love comes from.

My people have many messages. We carry dreams in our hearts and live everyday in action. Some of us consciously struggle against the oppressive machinery that gnaws at the liveliness of the oppressed. Others go about our work by helping others without regard for themselves, simply because “that’s just what we do.” Still others of us intuitively heal the earth, deliberately storm the castles, or move graciously throughout their days leading by example.

Occasionally though, we face resistance from within. The world around us seems a little hopeless, helpless, and incapable to become the place we know it can be. Our days are become a little bleak and our vision gets a little darkened. This post is for us.

Taken from the inspired blog of Susan Cornelis

Things are not hopeless, my friends. Surely, your vision for your own life may have hardened. You might have lost sight of the long run, went against the grain frequently, and even had your fire dampened. Loosing may be a theme; so can violence, terror, disease, and suffering. Looking at the world around us, it may appear these ways too.

I have struggled through hard times. Whether growing up in the backseat of the family’s car across the Midwest, getting jumped in the hood, living as a youth on the streets of New Orleans, shuffling back and forth across the US to make a career, struggling after my divorce, or trying to be the absolute best dad I can be, the appearance of pain in my life hasn’t been an anomaly. Looking back on my life, Rumi reminded me to stay up when I read, “After despair, many hopes flourish just as after darkness, thousands of suns open and start to shine.”

THAT is how I learned that as we walk, we are laying a path from which others take hope, whether we know it or not. If you’re suffering, struggling, or otherwise having a hard time, now is time to be inspired by yourself too. No matter how much or how long you’ve screwed up, failed, or missed the mark, there is wonder in your story. Look at it! Look at who you are and what you’ve done! Sure, you might feel the restless, impatient, and continuing need to invent, re-invent, take apart, and recreate yourself and the world around you. Don’t be mistaken- those are signs that you’re hopeful though.

My life has shown me how to take hope in my work and life, and yours can show you that too! It simply must. If you’re raising kids right now, no matter who they are or how they act, you have hope! If you’re doing work to change the world, you have hope! If you’re painting a picture, writing an essay, or reading this post, you have hope! You have hope that things will become something different than they are right now, and that alone shows your hopefulness. The movement isn’t dead because you have kept it alive.

One of my life teachers, the Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire, once wrote, “Without a minimum of hope, we cannot so much as start the struggle.” You are much further than the start, and you have a responsibility to yourself to say, show, and tell that to the world around you. Your life is an announcement of your hope, and by living anything other than a genuinely inspired life you are not being true to your own hopefulness.

So take off, get higher, and live the life you’re meant to live, do the work you’re meant to do, and be who you’re meant to be!

CommonAction is available to train, speak, and share about this topic and many others. Contact me to talk about the possibilities by emailing adam@commonaction.org or calling (360)489-9680.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

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