Living Under Hope’s “Roof”
Mike, over at Waving or Drowning, has posted a thought-provoking and challenging quote from Barbara Kingsolver regarding the power of hope and the effect it ought to have on those who embrace it. Often hope—at least of the Christian variety—is presented or conceived as some vague, incorporeal utopic state which has very little, if any, connection to the lives we live on this planet. It’s for whatever comes after this life, and has very little to say about what takes place between now and then.
With that in mind, listen to the words of Kingsolver:
Here’s what I’ve decided: the very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That’s about it. Right now I’m living in that hope, running down its hallways and touching the walls on both sides. I can’t tell you how good it feels.
I love this metaphor of refusing to “admire” hope from a distance, noncommittally wishing for future bliss, but, rather, deciding to live “under its roof,” to run down its hallways and touch its walls. Christian hope ought not to be wishful thinking, but a conviction to inhabit a specific way of thinking about and living according to the nature of God, the nature of the world he has made, and the nature of human beings who both expect better from the world, and have the capacity to work toward that end.