“The right to hope is the most fundamental human motivation I know.”
— Baccalaureate Address, Brown University, His Highness The Aga Khan 1996
When hope takes root within an individual, that hope can be such a factor for motivating and lasting change. A belief in oneself to overcome, to outlive, to outgrow, to outmaneuver whatever challenges may lie in one’s path begins in hope. Hope is the quintessential sustenance of that belief.
Challenges will always be present in life; this is factual. The challenge to life is to find Grace within rising above or meeting those challenges. Many of you are questioning if you are overdoing things for the holidays. Others are questioning when or if they’ll ever see their relatives from the Middle East. Yet others, are sleeping on sidewalks in the coldest of wintry weather. All of us possess the capability of hope; of grasping on to whatever it is that causes hope to breathe spirit into us. So long as we have a belief within ourselves to strive beyond our known capabilities, we have hope.
The tricky thing about hope is that it is highly criticised and often imitated but never fully achieved. If we look at what constitutes hope, we have to look at what necessitates its existence. When something isn’t working on the level we need or expect, hope is necessitated. When all else seems lost, hope is necessitated. When Grace is needed but isn’t quite present, hope is necessitated. To have hope, is to change an underlying human limitation: losing faith.
There are many who would argue that hope is a waste of time. The other day I heard Diane Sawyer remark that someone had once told her “a criticism is a really bad way of making a request.” If we apply this to those who would criticise hope, it is not surprising to realise that those who belittle this great motivating factor are those who likely need it most.
This is what I know for sure– when it seems that I am being challenged most and the only place to which I can turn is Spirit, I know that my ‘right to hope’ is so powerful, that Spirit has no choice but to acquiesce.