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April: National Month of Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all

— Emily Dickinson

Along with proverbial showers, April also brings us the National Month of Hope. Designated in 2018, the month celebrates the power of hope, and was established by the not-for-profit organization, Mothers in Crisis, a support group for families struggling with addiction.

Hope is a natural theme for April, as we watch the torpor of winter being shrugged off in exchange for blossoming flowers and budding trees. And who doesn’t feel hope with the triumph of Easter still ringing in our hearts?

But perhaps we should define our terms. What is hope? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains hope as “the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness.”

According to Desmond Tutu, it is “being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Aristotle called it “a waking dream.”

The Bible holds hope as a major theme. Just look at Psalm 39:7 — “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Or listen to Romans 5:13 — “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing….”

Of course, there are those who downplay hope, calling it “tomorrow’s veneer over today’s disappointment (Evan Esar) or “the last thing a person does before they are defeated” (Henry Rollins).

Nietzsche even called it “the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.” Whew. I wouldn’t want to sit next to him at a party!

Holding Us Together

I tend to side with Thomas Fuller, who said, “If it were not for hopes, the heart would break.” Hope holds us together. It walks with us through the worst of times by allowing us to imagine something better.

It envisions us as better people, making better choices, facing our fears, seeing a world of peace and understanding far removed from the darker side of reality. It nourishes and sustains. It is necessary.

So how might one celebrate the National Month of Hope? Perhaps by sending an uplifting card to a friend who’s going through a rough patch. Or making a phone call to remind someone that you won’t give up on them, and they mustn’t give up either. You could visit a neighbor. Or practice positive visualization whenever your thoughts stray toward the negative. Whatever gives you hope, indulge in it. Revel in it.

And remember that the ultimate object of hope can only be God. That is why hope can never die. No matter how dark it seems, hope is there because God is there. Not just in April, but always.

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Lori Strawn

Lori Strawn

Providence Associate Lori Strawn is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Witchita, Kansas. A 1987 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Lori formerly served on the advisory board for the Providence Associates.

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  1. Avatar Diane Weidenbenner on April 10, 2024 at 6:51 am

    What a beautiful reminder for us at this Easter time and always. Lori, you have such a wonderful writing style and this is exactly what I needed today. Thank you..

  2. Avatar Susan Paweski, SP on April 10, 2024 at 8:28 am

    Thank you, Lori! Just what I needed to hear this morning. There is so much concerning news and we need to balance it with our mission to “create hope” in our world.

  3. Avatar Laura Parker on April 10, 2024 at 8:56 am

    Thank you, Lori, for your comparison of hope as nature navigates itself toward spring . As “Easter people” are we not celebrating that hopefulness each day within our faith? Let us choose to create hope for one another wherever we can.

  4. Avatar Marsha A. Speth on April 10, 2024 at 11:05 am

    Thank you, Lori! Such a beautiful reminder! Hope is often an overlooked virtue, yet it is the linchpin between faith and love. It keeps us on the path of life to the full!

  5. Avatar Editha Ben on April 10, 2024 at 2:07 pm

    Beautiful article. Thanks, Lori!

  6. Avatar Marilyn Neuman on April 10, 2024 at 2:53 pm

    Lori, what a beautiful reflection! You are such a great writer – thanks for sharing your gifts with us.

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