THE BUDDING OF SPRING AND THE BLOOMING OF HOPE ~~Brianna Bourassa & Judy Urquhart

What is it to be Hopeful? Is it to wake up eagerly, open one’s eyes, and face the world with a smile and a steady sense of determination? Is it something that comes naturally or is it something we must work at? Is Hope acceptance of the present, peppered with optimism for the future? Hope has numerous definitions; it can be captured and presented in many shades and colors. Considering that April holds two significant religious holidays, Passover and Easter, I thought it would be interesting to look at Hope as defined through the religious texts of three major religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Perhaps, the varying descriptions of Hope expressed within these texts will help us gain a better understanding of how we all feel with the coming of spring; our bodies and minds are fixed on the horizon and coursing through our veins is the elusive and yet, omnipresent feeling of Hope.

The chosen passages within the Talmud and the Bible use a combination of metaphors and imagery to illustrate the dichotomy of Hope as being both human and holy. In the Talmud, Hope is described as the soft and sweet encouragement of angels: “Every blade of grass had its Angels that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.” Conversely, in the New Testament, Hope is rooted in the human soul; it is the “…anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain…”. Similarly, the Quran places emphasis on the human experience by stating: “the true foundation of Hope is the good we do in this life.”  According to these differing definitions, Hope is anchored in and foundational to the human experience; it is also the Divine Belief that whispers encouragingly to grow. In addition to a religious view, this marriage between the internal and external can also help us view Hope as a living phenomenon.

Warmer temperatures, extended hours of sunlight, and the buds on the trees all inspire feelings of Hope. And thanks to the Holy Bible, the Talmud, and the Quran, the understanding of Hope as a living dialogue, one which transpires both within ourselves and outside of ourselves, lends itself to the idea of Spring. The dialogue between what is happening in our heads—our self-confidence, the belief in our ability to overcome, and the strength of our actions, when paired with the encouragement of those around us, can create an atmosphere of positivity and light. Spring has sprung, and the rebirth of our earth will hopefully ignite excitement for the future, as well as invite kindness and empathy—characteristics that make us human, and elevate us as friends. 

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