Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Taking It Home: Hope

In the depths of my soul

There where lies the source of my strength,

Where the divine and the human meet,

There, quiet your mind, quiet, quiet.

Outside let lightning reign,

Horrible darkness frighten the world.

But from the depths of your own soul

From that silence will rise again

God's flower.

Return to yourself,

Rest in yourself,

Live in the depths of your soul

Where the divine and the human meet.

Tune your heart to the eternal

And in the depths of your own soul

Your panting quiets down.

Where the divine and the human meet,

There is your refuge. — Words by Norbert Capek, Czech Unitarian and creator of the Flower Festival, composed in Dresden Prison, 1942

In Today's Workshop...

We looked more closely at James Luther Adams' fifth smooth stone—the divine and human resources that justify hope and optimism. We shared and explored different perspectives on hope and experienced the Unitarian Universalist Flower Festival as an expression of hopefulness. We brainstormed sources of hope available to us in the face of seemingly hopeless personal, societal, and global situations. We also reflected on how our faith leads us to believe, feel, and act when hopeless and hopeful.

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you think people mean when they say to you, "Don't get your hopes up too high"? What would be a good response to this advice?
  • How is hope a religious matter, and why is it important in Unitarian Universalism?

Explore the topic further...

  • Identify people who have nurtured hope and optimism in you, or who have "rekindled your spark" when it went out. Think of ways to honor these mentors of hope. You could write them a letter, light a candle for them in church, or make a contribution in their name to an organization with a hopeful vision. What other ways can you think of to honor their hopefulness?
  • Reflect on and initiate conversation with friends around the reflection questions above. Post them on your Facebook or MySpace profile, blog, website, or other social networking account. Ask people to post responses.
  • Write or find hopeful statements and affirmations and post them in a special place where you will see them regularly, such as by your bed or desk. These words can serve as sources of hope throughout your day.
  • Make a worry doll. The legend of the worry doll—which comes to us from Guatemala—is that the doll will rid you of the worry overnight, leaving you more hopeful. The dolls have been a part of Guatemalan culture for years and are now popular in the United States. Some hospitals use the dolls with child patients to help alleviate fears. Follow these simple instructions to make a worry doll with toothpicks and embroidery floss. You can also buy fair trade worry dolls from Guatemala at The Hunger Site (GreaterGood network). Fair trade means that the international trading partnership respects the rights of the producers and workers, pays them fairly, and contributes to sustainable development. To use the worry doll, tell a worry to the doll and then place it under your pillow for the night. If you have a big concern, use a few different dolls on consecutive nights.
  • Hope and perseverance in dire situations is a common theme of movies. Here are a few you might watch with families and friends: Life is Beautiful (1997), Remember the Titans (2000), Rudy (1993) and the Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Why not hold a Hope movie night?
  • Hope is also a common theme for books. Here are a few: The Color Purple (also a movie), The Diary of Anne Frank (also made into a movie several times), Farewell to Manzanar, The Grapes of Wrath (also a movie), and Hope for the Flowers. How many others can you name? Why not form a hope book club?