Social Bridge asked that question this morning from Ireland. I have often written about hope, or incorporated it into a topic. For example,
Hope…the most essential of human stages of development. Hope…the belief that others will be there to support and help…that we can manage this crisis, too, and all the others that will come after. Not airy-fairy hope, but a deeply rooted sense of security that we can and will be able to do what needs to be done. (May 3, 2020)
Hope is the fundamental ego strength we must have to navigate our very existence from the time we are infants. The fact that so many of these projects–in the form of bridges, courthouses, post offices, dams, roads, streets, sidewalks, and schools to name only a few–are still standing and in use are a reminder of what we can do, how government can lead and serve, and how we can all work together for an outcome that is good for all of us. (August 23, 2020)
I do have hope, and I want hope in my life and hope in the world. Hope is the first of the ego qualities we need to master as an infant. Hope, that our needs will be met, and that the world will be a safe place for us. I have always had hope, even in the worst of circumstances. (December 25, 2008)
Hope…so necessary in our lives from the time of our infancy, when it helps us to believe that the world is a safe place and that our needs will be met….clearly, in the aftermath of not only the past few weeks, but the past years, there are far too many people out there who do not have a sense of hope. I can only imagine that a lack of hope that one’s life will ever feel worth living leads someone to such a place of despair. So also are the painful and horrible events committed in wars that are sanctioned by governments, and often supported by people who might feel the greatest grief if the event occurred outside of “war” while the end result is very much the same: stealing joy, stealing lives, stealing people’s sense of peace. Surely, we can find other ways to live together. (December 25, 2012)
Nurture people. Give them hope. Create joy wherever you go. Live in peace, be at peace. For the joy of the present, and all the people in my life who give me hope and joy, peace be unto you as we join each other in believing that another world is possible, and necessary. (December 25, 2012)
It is an intriguing question: what does hope look like? The first thing that popped into my mind was when I went outside yesterday to give the little succulent arrangement some sunshine, and noticed the red spidery flowers that bloom in two places in the yard every September had popped out overnight.
I have never known about the flowers, other than I enjoy them every year. Lycoris Radiata is known as Red Magic Lily, Red Spider Lily, hell flower, equinox flower, Naked Lily, and Resurrection Lily. It was originally from China, Korea, and Nepal, introduced into Japan and from there to the United States (Wikipedia). Because it blooms after heavy rain in the fall, it is also called hurricane lily. While most of the article is referenced, one common name–the hell flower–only has a reference to the Chinese and Japanese translations of the Lotus Sutra as “ominous flowers that grow in Hell and guide the dead into the next reincarnation.”
The Red Spider Lily is poisonous if consumed by humans or animals. It is used in pest control near rice fields for one use. I located several sources that indicated it was planted on graves (where the body was interred in dirt, not a coffin) in order to deter animals from digging up the grave. Buddhism connected it to the role of guiding the dead into the next life.
Apparently, neither deer, raccoons or cats eat them, since I have not noted dead carcasses around the yard. I have no idea how they got here, since the plants are sterile and can only be reproduced from a bulb. I presume at some point in the history of this hillside, someone intentionally planted them in the two locations because they are pretty. You can buy them online through many flower and bulb sources.
I think I will keep my original assessment that these are what hope looks like to me: consistently appear every year at the same time, provide two little corners of color on my mostly green hillside, and in spite of the feathery little petals one might think are delicate, they have been quite adept at surviving for at least the 17 years I have been here. Hope is alive.