I was reading through some blogs last evening and came across a reference to “Reasonable Hope,” a concept from the work of Kaethe Weingarten. Google helped me learn some more about Kaethe and provided some links to this concept she has developed and which piqued my curiosity.
I followed this link and read about this organisation which had begun to explore and work with these aspects of “reasonable hope”
Reasonable hope can help us build a bridge to creating more authentic hope in our lives even in the midst of challenging circumstances, uncertainty and even despair.
Weingarten identified five characteristics of reasonable hope, which we are understanding and interpreting in the following ways:
Relational. Hope happens between things and in relationships. It is held, shared, communicated, birthed. It shifts and moves, waxes and wanes, as we interact with ourselves, each other and our environment. It can be likened to the African concept of “Ubuntu,” which Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as “being enveloped in the community of other human beings, in being caught up in the bundle of life.” Hope is like this, caught up in bundles of shared experience.
Is something to be practiced. Hope is a verb more than a noun. Rather than an internal feeling we have or we don’t, hope is a quality we can actively cultivate through the choices we make. Hope is an ongoing process, something we practice in the here and now—not something we passively wish for in the future—that makes us more “hope” prone.
Sees the future as open, uncertain, influenceable. An uncertain future creates space for change, growth and transformation. It opens the door to possibilities beyond our current expectations. Hope is a process where “the soul turns toward a light which it does not yet perceive, a light yet to be born,” as is eloquently described by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel.
Seeks goals and pathways. Reasonable hope is both practical and fluid. It looks for what goals can be accomplished now (and identifies ways to get there) and adjusts as new possibilities and pathways become available.
Accommodates doubt, contradictions and despair. When understood as a dynamic, moment-to-moment practice, hope can be messy and spacious. It can hold the whole of our lives with all of its losses, joys, setbacks and surprises. Instead of closing our eyes and making a wish, we can open our eyes wider and turn toward a light that may not yet be born.
Reasonable hope is only one of many ways we can bring hope into seemingly hopeless situations. A bridge from what is true now to a place where we can dream and hope again.
Hope has been a word on my lips so often lately that this expansion has proved to be both comforting and illuminating to me. Sharing ways to become more “hope prone” is such a positive gift to us all.