In hope I trust…

Shankill Castle Feb 2015-138

I am sitting here looking at a blank screen, cursor flashing. I’ve been sitting here for at least 30 minutes. I’ve written lines, and deleted them again. I’ve made two cups of tea. I’ve checked on the fire, numerous times. I’ve written some more words, and deleted them again. Ahead of me is a blank document. All that white space. It’s terrifying. It’s daunting. It’s confusing. It’s exhilarating.

You see it seems like there have been so many words over these last few weeks, some of which have been sending the world into topspin. There have been unsavoury words which have led to unsavoury action. There have been words of spite, anger, shock, uncertainly and fear. But then, in consequence, written on the streets through the feet of millions and held up high on placards there have been words of hope, solidarity, compassion, justice, inspiration, power and beauty.

Watching global events unfold it strikes me that we are facing a collective blank page. The cursor is flashing. Unfolding before us are two narratives- internally and externally: the narrative of fear and the narrative of hope. We get to write how the story continues. We are part of the unfolding. The ancients and our ancestors have been through this before, of course.


The evil. The good. The fear. The hope. The one that wins is the one that feeds.  Right now it can seem that hope is hungry and fear is full; but only if we choose for it to be so, and that choice, I think, requires connection.

As we plug our own lives into the grand narrative of global affairs, our own individual actions can seem, well, insignificant.  ‘But I’m only a _______’ .  A blank. That maybe so, but whatever your ‘blank’, that blank has it’s own soul, energy, skill, talent, breath, movement, texture and form. That blank has power. Then, put lots of blanks together and you get a whole new tapestry of possibility.
+_____________ +_____________ +_____________ +
+_____________ +_____________ +_____________ +
+_____________ +_____________ +_____________ +
+_____________ +_____________ +_____________ +
+_____________ +_____________ +_____________ +
+_____________ +_____________ +_____________ +
Those blanks make units, and those units make patterns, and those patterns have weaves and those weaves are strength. Together those blanks make families, communities, neighbourhoods. friendships, even movements. The narrative of hope is a narrative of action, and connection.

I write these words to myself as a reminder. To reach out. To listen to the other. To pay attention to what hunger I am feeding. To connect.  And as I write them I am also aware that there is a simplicity to them which could be called idealism or even naivety. I’m OK with both, because ultimately it all boils down to this: we all live on the same planet, we are are all the one species, we breath the same air and need the same fundamental things. We have so much more in common than any ideology would lead us to believe. We are all one. It’s really that simple. Whether I agree with you our not, we are still one. You are my sister or brother on this planet. That air we breathe, that sun we share, that gravity that holds us, holds us all, together. That’s the natural law. Now it’s up to us to keep it so.

And so, feeding the hope is not to deny the fear, it’s just not giving into it. It’s not to deny the history of what we have been through, nor to turn away from what is happening, but instead to turn towards what the earth already knows, intrinsically. Hope then is not passive acceptance, but an active appraisal; an earthly honouring. It can be a push, a shout, a scream. It can be saying no. It can be standing up. It can be reaching out. It’s the warrior within rising up, for the narrative of hope gets written through action.

Ahead is the blank page, awaiting attention. It’s still pretty terrifying, and daunting and confusing and exhilarating, but by reminding myself what hunger to feed, it seems just a bit less so. Especially the terrifying bit.

And so to the ancients, I bow; to this mother of earth, I bow; and to you, I bow, whoever you are, wherever you are. It’s in hope that I trust.

Now, let’s keep this hope on the road.

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