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“Insights” on Hope

by Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty, Minister, First Parish of Sudbury UU

I struggle with hope even though I remind us on a weekly basis to find or create a place for hope in our lives. My rational mind wants to sit next to, Friedrich Nietzsche who explained that, “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.” I agree that hope can be a dangerous emotion because it pulls our attention away from the present moment and coping with what is real in this moment. Hope can blind us from the truth of a situation, stall us from moving into, and in some cases, beyond this moment. Yet, in my heart of hearts, I believe that, “hope is also an emotion that gives us the energy to live despite challenges, to love despite uncertainty, and to embrace both who we are in the moment and what we may become.”

This month as we enter into the shorter darker days of winter it can be harder to find hope, harder to create joy in our lives. I think that is why we have the traditions that we do this time of year–the bright lights, the smell of pine, the festively wrapped gifts, the food, the music, the reveling these traditions remind us of the possibilities and opportunities that exist in this life, the possibilities that exist in the birth of a child and the expansive hopes that one must have when raising children come what may.

At times, the messiness of life, the challenges, losses, and fears that we face in this moment are great motivators and at other times they can cause a sense of paralysis. Hope can be either a salve to ease one’s suffering just enough to keep one bound in chains, or hope can be seeded inspiring us to take action in this moment – to live beyond our expectations. As we turn inwards during this time of expectant waiting, as we tend to our preparing, tend to our concerns or maybe even tend to our pain, let us turn to thoughts of hope. What do we hope for? How can we turn our hopes and dreams into action and reality, create and cultivate our biggest joy?

I encourage us to hope and to let our hopes inspire us to face this moment charged with the energy to carry on, to make change, to turn our hopes and dreams into reality. I have heard in many recovering circles that one needs to “fake it to make it” and in a way I believe that is what hope helps us to do.

The holidays bring a mixed bag of emotions for many of us… are we willing to change what we expect from these darker introspective times, are we willing to take a chance on hope, are we willing to alter what we choose to cultivate moving forward?

Dearest ones, I share this poem with you as I lovingly invite us to embrace this life in all that it has to offer us. Think of this piece, written by e.e. cummings, as a pledge to one’s very own self:


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


Peace, Love and Light of the season,

Rev. Marjorie