The patience of hope
We’d been patient. Until we weren’t. Our hope burst through the dam walls on 21 May.
The morning after the election my regular walk up our local bush track felt different. The people I passed, normally reticent, were bouncing. They made eye contact, smiled, sharing various versions of ‘lovely day’ (it wasn’t that great to be honest, a uniformly cloudy autumnal grey). Every beaming face on every strident body seemed to glow.
Or was it just me? After all we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. I saw a quiet springing to life of something I hadn’t even realised I’d buried away in the bottom of the cupboard: Hope.
It’s strange how it creeps up on you, the lack of hope. I didn’t even know it had gone, until it was back.
I’m an optimistic person. I’ve always held on to a blind faith that human beings work it out eventually. I try to zoom out to see the big picture view – our place in the universe and our moment in history - and be curious about why things are as they are. I figured it’s a much better use of my energy than rolling around in the daily confected outrage of social media and click-bait news headlines. Saying all that, it’s strange how it creeps up on you, the lack of hope. I didn’t even know it had gone, until it was back.
In Max Porter’s beautiful novel, Lanny, he asks, ‘Which do you think is more patient, an idea or a hope?’
We’d been patient. Until we weren’t. Our hope burst through the dam walls on 21 May. We took our tiny pencils and marked the squares for a future that was better than the past. We voted for people who understood the importance of this moment, as we did.
What the purveyors of cynical manipulation failed to see was that the plague changed us. Being alone made us value connection. Being unwell made us value our health. Being afraid made us value truth. Being stressed made us value our inner life, our relationships and purposeful work.
What do we do with this hope now that we’ve brought it into the light? We hold onto it. We act on it. We don’t rely on those who’ve been chosen as our representatives to be the sole upholders of hope. It’s up to us.