Reflections on Hope

Dec 12, 2019
Posted By:
Aliaa Barakat PhD

Reflections on Hope

How natural is it to think and plan in terms of probabilities? Is it scientific not to be certain? 

In its broadest meaning, science is a human attitude, one of objectivity, of accepting reality as it is, and not as we wish it to be. 

In that sense, it is intimately related to Hope and Faith. Hope is a state of being, an inner readiness for that which is not yet born. Like faith, it is an intrinsic element of the structure of life, rooted in our knowledge and based on our experience of living. Faith is certainty about the reality of a possibility, not certainty about unquestionable predictability. 

Can we think in terms of percentages and probabilities when there is a real possibility?

I wake up every day to acts of hope and faith and courage in our community. People with strong concern and love for life, who direct their own will, and who do not become desperate that the human journey and its endless learning takes more than one’s lifetime. 

Nat Goddard, whose being is centered on the priorities of life, has devoted his energies to building a support community for people with pulmonary fibrosis on Cape Cod. Judy Amendola and her daughter Chloe have taught me the difference between passive hope, that of “waiting for” ( … for lung transplant, or for the future) and the hope whose object is a fuller life and greater aliveness. To them, and many others in our community – patients, families, physicians and researchers – I am grateful for the care, the hope, and the productive use of their own powers and forces. 

Art and the Human Experience 

Poetry, music and other forms of art are more precise in describing the human experience. Yesterday, I asked my dear friend and mentor, Professor KC Hayes, for his feelings and thoughts about Hope and Faith. He sent me this eCard, one of several, that point out some aspects of his experience of both. Dialogue and understanding are possible when shared experiences are mobilized. On this note, I invite you to reflect on your own experiences of hope and faith, with or without words. 

Be well, and with every best wish for a peaceful, joyful and healthful holiday season.