What’s your sense of what hope looks like?

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)

red flowers

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)

red flowers-2

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)

red flowers-8

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)

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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)

red flowers-4

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.

This entry was posted in Acts of Restorative Kindness, Ecosystem, Mississippi and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What’s your sense of what hope looks like?

  1. Beth Barton says:

    This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: ” Humor is the petal on the flower of hope, and hope blossoms on the vine of faith.” It’s by Dean Koontz but I can’t remember which book.

    I had some of those lilies at my last house in Texas. I think I’ll order some again. Maybe deliberately plant a surprise for the next person to live here …

    Great post. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful Red Spider Lily. I can see why the look like hope after 17 years. I have a small pot of golden spider lilies on my patio. They die back in the spring and come back in fall. They are beginning to push up, tiny green shoots of hope. We must have hope no matter what it looks like. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you for your optimistic rejoinder! I have never seen a golden one–or at least, not that I knew what it was. Hope is essential indeed and I love the description of “beginning to push up, tiny green shoots of hope.” Hope does begin to push up and when we nurture it, it grows. Nice metaphor. 🙂


  3. peggyjoan42 says:

    There are two quotes I like. One I found on Pinterest – “Hope is seeing light in spite of being surrounded by darkness.” AND “Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” by Samuel Smiles I see the lilies you have pictured all over Arkansas – I know many people here plant them in their yards and each year they reappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. janebye says:

    Love the flowers and the thoughts on hope. Even when things seem the most dire or I am going through something difficult, I always seem to have hope that it will be better soon. Most of the time, that is true. Sometimes it takes longer than I want, though! To me, hope is getting back to work on whatever it is I am working on. If I didn’t have hope, I wouldn’t bother, you know? I like this quote from Barack Obama along those lines. “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” I think you and I are always “getting up and doing something,” aren’t we?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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