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Hope is the motion that runs the dog’s tail

Dear Friends and followers of my blog,

re Reflection on Hope

I had been working on this presentation on Hope for a few weeks running up towards Christmas. A friend of mine had sent me a poem by Lisel Mueller ( 1924-2020) on the theme of Hope. I love this line in the poem: Hope is the motion that runs the dog’s tail. This stimulated some thoughts on Hope.

I celebrated 50 years as an ordained priest of the Anglican church on the 17th December 2020. Some 40 friends and family who had journeyed with me gathered around me for a Eucharistic celebration at St Paul’s Rondebosch, where I had been Rector for 11 years. It was lovely to see so many friends despite the fears of Covid 19. Then came Christmas and New Year and news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In the week leading up to his funeral when he was lying in repose in the Cathedral I went to line the street with other priests and wardens to receive the funeral cortege. We quietly lined the street. The Church Brigade band arrived and filled the city with with music. Then just before the cortege arrived I was asked to carry the Archbishop’ coffin into the Cathedral, together with a number of clergy and wardens. I was deeply honoured and moved to carry this man’s body into the church – this little giant of a man who was and remains such a symbol of hope, love and justice for humankind.

It is too early to do a presentation on Archbishop Desmond.

I warmly offer my simple presentation on Hope at such a time.


But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8: 22-25

Dame Julian of Norwich was a Christian mystique who in 1373, at the age of 30 fell seriously ill, so ill that she thought she was going to die. However, in this resigned state she received a series of visions or showings of the passion of Christ. The words I have quoted comes out of her experience of suffering and illness.

I have always been impressed with this quotation from Vaclav Havel. Hope is something deep within each of us..

A quote by Vaclav Havel, former
president of the Czech & Slovac Republic, made during a 1990 address at the Oslo conference, “The Anatomy of Hate”.

I am not an optimist because I am not sure that everything ends well, nor am I a pessimist because I am not sure that everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart. Hope is not a certainty that everything ends well. Hope is just a feeling that life and work have meaning. It is not an estimate of the state of the world. It is something you either have or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you. It is a dimension of human existence.

For your Journal: How do you experience hope within yourself, and in the people that you know?

As I have done. Try to capture concrete examples of hope wherever you have seen it, or where you see it.

I invite you to send me your reflections on Hope.

2 comments on “Hope is the motion that runs the dog’s tail

  1. Paul Cannon says:

    Very many thanks, Bob : I felt truly uplifted…..

    Paul C


  2. Sue Grove says:

    What beautiful thoughts about hope….thank you Bob.
    It has inspired me.


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