Hope and Despair

I had a shrink once who was writing a book titled Hope and Despair. He was right that they are fundamental. Without hope there is nothing. Without despair, there is no honesty. Both are part of life. Hope without despair is hollow. Despair without hope is bleaker still.

There is a moral imperative to hope, to believe that life can be better, that we can grow as human beings — an imperative that impels us to open ourselves. This opening is fraught with fear and anxiety, because it exposes feelings that we try to hold inside.

From earliest childhood memories forward, most of us recall times when we dared not hope for fear of being disappointed. Sometimes we were disappointed, sometimes deeply and painfully. At such times, we may regret, intensely regret, having wanted, having cared, having hoped. But to do so would be a turning away from life, would be cowardly.
We must accept both hope and despair if we are to live complete lives.

Essays on creativity, community, social change, and the search for meaning