Hope in a time of darkness

Hope is elusive.

It is invisible, ethereal and hard to understand.

It is irrational and requires a radical act of defiance during unfathomably dark times.

We are in a moment of darkness.

Our lives have been upended and our sense of normalcy has been swept away. We don’t know how or when this will end, or what awaits us on the other side.

It is easy to feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

But blindly believing that everything will work out is also futile, for then we have no motivation to apply ourselves and work towards making things better. And sometimes, we are even worse off than where we started.

"We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation—just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer—we are challenged to change ourselves." -Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

While this was written in the context of the Shoah (the Holocaust), there is a tension that feels so present between harboring devout Faith in the face of accepting Fate.

In order to survive, we need both.

In this Value Spark, we will explore the value of Hope and share ways that people can find hope amidst moments of despair.

Hope has always been a guiding force in Judaism, so much so that the anthem of Israel is called HaTikvah, The Hope.

We have experienced hardships and overwhelming loss, but we never quit yearning for a better future. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks asserts that “To be a Jew is to be an agent of hope in a world serially threatened by despair.”

Emily Dickinson argues that “hope inspires the good to reveal itself.”

Sadness yanks us down, and hope nudges us to help one another get back up or to sit with the fallen in solidarity.

Comedian John Krasinski’s current show celebrates entirely good news that is sourced by audience members. Let’s create our own Good News, as sometimes the fate that we are experiencing is much more optimistic than it’s made out to be.

How have you seen goodness reveal itself?

Hope can be found in listening to the testimonies of people who have navigated through times of darkness and struggle and continued to rebuild their lives and work towards bringing about change.

Palestinian Bassam Aramin and Israeli Robi Damelin met after both losing a child in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Together, they established the Parents Circle Forum, which has brought together more than 600 Palestinian and Israeli families, all of whom have lost an immediate family member to the conflict, to call for peace and reconciliation. What is the hope that keeps them going? How have they turned their pain into purpose?

Let’s revisit HaTikvah.

While most anthems are patriotic marches or hymns, Hatikvah reflects the sustained hope of the Jews returning to the land of Israel. Haven’t we already turned this hope into a reality? But the song doesn’t mention God or the Bible, it doesn’t include any triumph of modern Israeli history, and it isn’t representative of Israeli society!

Revisit your source sheet for the words of HaTikvah to answer a few reflection questions.

It takes strength and perseverance to see beyond our present reality and hope for a better future.

What are we hoping for right now?

What is the future that you want to see?

How do you want to emerge from this time?

Articulating hope can help give you momentum and strength.

In this next exercise, we will create our own messages board of hope, our own wishing well. Please add a hope to this collective document. These messages can sustain us and cast positivity into the world.

After all of this, with inspiration from some of the greatest influencers of our time, what is hope and what is hope to you in this moment?

May we all have the strength to hope for tomorrow and dream of a better future.

From your fans at M²

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