“Piss on a bunch of hope:” The Day Before the Beginning: The Confusion of Hope (Lenten Explorations 2017)

I have this friend who always says, “Piss on a bunch of hope.” I think this is because he suspects that hope is a delusion, masking, somehow, the deeper and more interesting and useful reality of any given situation.

Hope, as it is defined, is not a given. It is to live in the expectation or wish that something we desire will occur. Now, to be honest, that does sound a little delusional, does it not?

Or IS hope a given, meaning is it intrinsic to us, that we always have it, that we are we born with it? Do we have it until something takes it away? Do we strengthen it when we are tested?

Or do we choose hope, at some point so early in our lives that we don’t remember doing so?

And do we give up on hope, for whatever reasons? Or does hope simply drain away from us, as we watch its disappearance in utter despair?


That is what we will be exploring here during the next 40 days. I invite you to join me and to share your thoughts, because this is a really important question. Your replies will allow others to learn from you, so please don’t be shy.

How glorious it will be to reach Easter Sunday with a true, heart-felt answer to this question, and how amazing you will all be for your willingness to fight your way to such an important declaration: “I know what hope is!”

A poem for today from the utterly fabulous Naomi Shihab Nye, about fretting, and worry, and in the end, simple reassurance.

300 Goats

In icy fields.
Is water flowing in the tank?
Will they huddle together, warm bodies pressing?
(Is it the year of the goat or the sheep?
Scholars debating Chinese zodiac,
follower or leader.)
O lead them to a warm corner,
little ones toward bulkier bodies.
Lead them to the brush, which cuts the icy wind.
Another frigid night swooping down —
Aren’t you worried about them? I ask my friend,
who lives by herself on the ranch of goats,
far from here near the town of Ozona.
She shrugs, “Not really,
they know what to do. They’re goats.”
Image result for goats


Filed under confusion, hope, lent

3 responses to ““Piss on a bunch of hope:” The Day Before the Beginning: The Confusion of Hope (Lenten Explorations 2017)

  1. LAC

    A comment from Mary Anne Crowley: “The poems you find are so beautiful, different and relevant, I really liked this one with the goats. I look at hope, I think, as faith, If I didn;t have faith, I couldn’t hope. I am hoping this Lent I learn to deal with anxiety and fear. It is a big burden I allow and it effects my loved ones.


  2. LAC

    I believe many people have this kind of anxiety, Hopefully, we will figure out a way to think about it differently as we move through the next 40 days!


  3. Marilyn Ford

    Hi Leslie,
    Looking back on my life, I believe that we are all born with the ability to hope. I think of the very young child…. a child who was born with God given abilities to experience life. I believe that a child who has been exposed to a life full of love, will continue to yearn for that feeling and thrive. I think of the child who is born into “less than ideal circumstances”. I still believe that hope is intrinsic. At some point, they must yearn for and look forward to something to change, something to get better……
    As we get older, and have to deal with our own individual life experiences, I believe that we all have the ability (or anibility) to determine how we perceive the meaning and need for hope. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent gives us the opportunity to reflect. Am I “where I need to be” in my relationships with my god, myself and others? Do I need to refocus my thinking? Some of us might be hopeless during this time. Some of us are hopeful for things to improve, change, etc.
    I continue to believe that we all must look at our lives and make the choice to TRY to hope for a better day, a better tomorrow and a better life. IMO, we all were born with the capacity to hope.
    As a follow-up to my previous post! At this time I am not “hopeless” I am not in despair. I have been sick with the same junk that everyone seems to have. 10 days on the couch….a lot of idle time and my brain responded in its typical fashion. I had great plans to do “X”, “Y” and “Z”. I accomplished nothing and saboutaged my resolve to stay focused and stay hopeful for the upcoming Easter season. However today, I was standing in the express line with cough drops and a bottle of vitamin “C”. In front of me we’re two young mothers with exactly 12 items to feed their children and family. They were on WIC. They finished, and the next thing that happened shocked me. They told the clerk that they would be paying for my purchase as well. They used their own money to do this. I was shocked. I started to cry. I thought it was the nicest thing in the world to do. Thanked them profusely. I immediately turned around and paid for the three items for the lady behind. It was an automatic response. When I left that store, I had a smile on my face. I am filled with hope that our society and culture looks out and cares about others. The absolute happiness I received when I turned around and paid the lady’s bill will not be forgotten.
    To sum it up, my dear friend of over 30 years is scheduled for a biopsy in the next week. Initial reports and information is extremely dismal however, I refuse to give up hope because I want to support and love my friend while she is still here. Hope is real, it is necessary and I am determined to not give up hope no matter what life throws me during this season of Lent and Easter
    Blessings to all. Thank you Leslie for your providing a platform to express my thoughts and feelings.
    Love marilyn


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