WES Blog — Imagination and Hope

WES’ December theme is Hope.
No matter where we are in our lives, no matter our struggles or blessings, we can always use a reminder to be hopeful.
I think of hope as a tool of the imagination. Our world is filled with mystery and with ambiguities. We are always moving towards an unknown future. Life moves so quickly that the momentum can feel too powerful to change course. Yet, circumstances are constantly changing. Hope is an awareness of this change and the possibilities for us to influence it. Whether it is big or small, there is always something that we can do differently. Small changes can often ripple out to bigger ones.
Sometimes, all the change we can do is to shift our perspective. Sometimes, it is making the decision to enjoy the sunshine for just a moment. In that paused moment, you might find a moment of happiness which could open countless other doors.
Our defeat comes when we believe that an endings is preordained, that there is nothing we can do to change it. Hope is what reminds us to look for other options. It is the tool to imagine potential futures and the steps to reach them.
Speaking of imagination, I must confess that I’m a bit of science-fiction nerd. I love sci-fi conventions. I dream of a Halloween that falls on a Sunday, so I can wear Jedi robes in the pulpit, probably the only time that I would ever wear robes in the pulpit.
One of the reasons that I love sci-fi is because it allows for endless possibilities. It is storytelling that creates new worlds which are open to the remarkable happening from the most unlikely places. Walidah Imarisha a poet, author, and co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science-Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements says, “Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless.”
So I’m drawn to sci-fi and stories in general. The stories we tell invoke our imagination. They provide us frameworks for seeing the world at a far enough remove to process it.
When it comes to stories, movies or books- I’ve long said “I want a hopeful ending, not a happy one.”
      What I mean is that most happy endings feel a little phony to me. If at the end, it all wraps up nicely and everyone rides off into the sunset, the cynic in me grumbles that it isn’t realistic or attainable. At the same time, I don’t want a depressing ending; the optimist inside of me has to latch on to something.
Despite my saying, there are times that I just want a story that ends with pure happiness. Sometimes, I don’t always need or want a reminder about life’s difficulties.
My imagination comes alive when it is looking for happiness but still grounded in the complexity and depth of life.
This upcoming month, I invite you to think about what sets your imagination alive. What inspires you to think creatively and to address life differently? From where does your hope come?
Zeb Green, WES Clergy Intern