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Personal & Spiritual Development

Membership Musings: Act in Hopeful Ways

By Lynne Jacoby, Membership Development Coordinator

“’Hope’ is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all – “

I do not know of any positive change in the world, or in my own life for that matter, that began without hope; and yet I also understand Emily Dickinson to be right. “Hope” is different than “hoping for…,” there are no specific words to its tune.

Which doesn’t mean we can’t act in hopeful ways. Give of ourselves towards building a world we understand as more hopeful for everyone; as well as finding ways to listen, and ways to amplify, and ways to dance in hope’s wordless tune.

It is funny to me that, wordless as it is, hope is the spiritual concept that is the most tangible to me. I know when I am feeling hope, if not always why; and hope is what I understand as religion’s most useful gift to our world when I drill things down to the simplest. Spreading and sharing hope, in word and in deed, best we can; in my mind, this is our first responsibility – as a liberal religious community.

And yet I understand the poet’s last stanza about hope to be also, miraculously, true:

“I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.”


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