From the Director: Hope

By:  Josh Spring LSW, Executive Director

Hope is such a powerful word.  Really it is more of a deep sense than just a word.  For many hope is fuel- it is what propels forward.  Hope is a strong understanding that things don’t have to be the way they are.  Hope is connected to faith that hard work will eventually pay off.  Hope is a major ingredient that gives people in extremely difficult situations the power to continue living.  Hope is the reason why every time you speak with a high school or college student after an urban plunge trip they always say something like- “I was so taken back by how happy they were.”  The student saw an image of hope and it was impressive.

Passionate hope is the strength of struggle.  It is the power that oppressors don’t understand and don’t know how to completely over come.  Sometimes people lose hope and the oppressor is glad, but at some point seeds will grow and hope will bubble back up in some people.  And the wonderful thing about hope is that it grows and it spreads.  It grabs others by the heart and pulls them along- this deep sense that we can do it.  Positive change is borne from hope.

Often in the struggle to sustain life, we hear things like, “you can’t always fight change” or “you just have to deal with change.”  While at the same time in struggle, we talk about wanting and demanding change.  The difference is we fight negative change and demand positive change.  Furthermore the difference is the change we are told we have to deal with, “because change happens” is change like removing one group of people from their homes, and moving in another group of people, or the reducing of funds to Human Services, or changes in zoning that discriminate against certain groups, or the removal of neighborhood serving business, etc.  In reality, none of this is change, directly or indirectly each of these supposed “changes” are not directed by hope, they are directed by greed and greed is older than dirt.

What would be change is having a system founded on the inherit value of People, founded on empathy.  That would be change and at its core, that is what we have hope of eventually achieving.  In a system founded on the inherit value of People and empathy, war would end, the consumption of most resources by a few would end, slavery would end, all would have access to health care, the opportunity for sustainable, livable employment would exist to the extent needed and the employment would also be meaningful and the products produced would not be exploitive and the list goes on.  And obviously, homelessness would end.  Homelessness is the sum of all other consequences.  Homelessness is the true “trickle down” of our system.  The fact that we have any sort of “trickle down” shows that we don’t have a system founded on the inherit value of People and certainly not on equality.  There should be no “down.”

We must water each other’s hope.  We must guard each other’s hope.  We must let hope drive us forward- even when we don’t know exactly what we need to do.  Hope is powerful because People are powerful.  If we allow it to fuel us, Hope can overcome greed.