“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
~Zechariah 9:12 (NRSV).
“I am not optimistic, no... I’m quite different from that; I am hopeful. I am a prisoner of hope.”
~Desmond Tutu, 10 Questions for Desmond Tutu, Time Magazine.
What Desmond Tutu talks about here is being truthfully hopeful despite realities of contrast. As we look upon our world we’re often given to sadness, anger, and even disgust, for the iniquities of injustice, rampant abuses, and widespread suffering. But, many of us cannot help but hope. It’s in our moral DNA.
Hope – A Personal Blight?
We can, at a low point, consider ourselves cursed because we hope so much. We don’t seem to think we can live without the spiritual journey. Many of us can’t.
But it’s a blessed curse. It can feel like a prison, but in fact it’s the safest place we could ever be; our spirits entrusted to God who loves us.
Being a prisoner of hope means that when we lose our hope we feel strange, away-from-home; even kidnapped. Desperation, via contemplation, retrieves it for us.
Hope pushes us on but it also tires us. We don’t have the best of both worlds — we swim merrily or we struggle amid drowning. Hope gets us through when we’re spiritually ready but it also sees us flounder when things are awry.
The reality of our spirituality is we conform to the truth, but the truth is not always, on the surface, a friendly thought. The truth can both liberate and bind us, though we may always find it liberates us — as we respect it — eventually.
We’re pressed forward in hope or we aren’t; it’s as simple as that.
Hope – The Brighter Side
We can know with a sense of confidence and surety, that whilst we’re bound in the love of hope, we’re safe from the castigating clutches of the evil one. We don’t really understand what gets into some people who don’t seem to care. We cannot help but care.
This is not a curse at all. If it’s an incarceration were thankful to be there — safe, at a spirit level, with our redeeming God. We’re imprisoned within the boundaries of care; confined to an eternal safe-house of conscience.
So instead, we understand the contortion of time and space on this planet earth. We expect things to be confusing, perplexing, confounding. We live with it. We help others to adjust and we let them help us to adjust.
Adjusting is the process of adapting, in a continuing way, to this prison of hope — home in the body, but away from the Lord.
The brighter side of hope is this:
We don’t need to have it all together. Hope is beyond all this. Hope is something beyond our understanding. Our unexplainable confidence will be vindicated. Hope sees to it.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
The full Time Magazine interview of Desmond Tutu is available here.