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January 23, 2020

I recently challenged myself to write 500 words per day, asking friends to give me a one word subject to help me on my way.  I Haven’t always managed 500 per day, but the I have often written lots more in one day so I guess it evens out.  Most of the words I have picked have been woven into a story, or collection of vignettes you might call them, I’m not sure.  Anyway, they are not ready for the world yet, but today I found myself writing this after staring out of the window for a while, my cup of coffee warming my hands, words just arriving in my head.


We live on hope.  We hope for better weather, a better, cleaner future.  We hope that you have a happy birthday or that your mother’s death isn’t too paralysing.

Is it another word for praying?  If you have no particular faith is hoping what we do instead of talking to god?   Hope is by its nature optimistic, there is an intrinsic expectation of positive fulfilment.  By hoping for something we feel are half way there, or at least we are nudging that desire in the right direction.  Hoping for a happy birthday for someone is usually a pretty safe bet.  Hoping that the death of someone much loved doesn’t paralyse you is a less safe bet, but the action of expressing that hope will help it on its way to becoming reality.  Hopefully.

Prayer is hope wrapped up in religion.   In an increasingly secular world (or is it?) we squinch up our eyes and hope to god (Gaia, air, humanity) that what we want will come true.  It’s not the same as regular and organised prayer, like going to the mosque and intoning learned verses with choreographed movements, or sitting in a pew in a grand church listening to plainsong as it sails up to the rafters and out and up to whoever your god is, the words from centuries past asking, please, this time, to bring us aid, save our souls, make it all better.  Or shuffling rosary beads though our hands, muttering the same prayer to a young girl who lived and died centuries ago over and over.  Or sitting cross legged on our yoga mats, being mindful and setting out our wishes, hopes and intentions for the day, regularly, rhythmically.  If we remember. 

Squinching up your eyes and hoping against hope that the orange terror currently running the most powerful (apparently) country in the world rots and turns to pungent blue dust, just like real oranges left in the bottom of the fruit bowl, is hoping where there is little chance of that becoming reality, therefore against hope.  In truth I would be happy to avoid the pungent part as I imagine that would be like the acid yellow haze that hangs over heavily polluted cities, only blue.  Nobody wants to breath him in.

Hoping with hope, with or without squinched up eyes, doubles up the optimism power I think; it’s a prayer, without a church, but with a congregation.  I hope with hope for a better world.  It’s a massive and unwieldy hope, and a daunting one.  It’s a hope that takes a battering daily by listening to the news, but also is boosted by seeing people like Greta (spell check wants to make her name ‘great’ which is quite apt) Thunberg rallying the young people of the world to shout at the olds to bloody well get their act together.  It’s boosted by talking to my son and hearing him talk with clarity, focus and wit after a long time of that being absent.  It’s boosted by attending public meetings about local issues, even if there is going to be a massive and ongoing fight ahead. 

People.  People give me hope.  At the same time as vile and greedy people (and corporations are designated people so extra power to them right there tragically) are hoovering up this planet’s resources and spewing out the toxic byproducts, other people, the real people of this planet, are fighting back.  We may be small, but we are mighty.  We can do this.

The word was given me by Rob Wicks.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. sophie Walters permalink
    January 24, 2020 10:54 am

    Fabulous, thought provoking start to my rather dull grey day. Thanks Betty!! xx Soph x

  2. February 16, 2020 12:46 pm

    Only just saw your comment Soph – thanks for reading and glad to be of assistance! xxx

  3. February 21, 2020 11:32 pm

    I hope you keep writing wonderful pieces like this. I am confident you will.

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