Hope Springs Eternal

candlesOk, this is going to be a soppy one, not a funny one. Maybe it’s a result of motherhood? Anyway, I hope you bear with me and read on, Macduff.

In my work I come across people struggling with the most difficult of circumstances, and with horrible illnesses that sometimes have persisted for years with little sign of improvement. Their ability to keep going and to maintain hope is a lesson to us all. So in honour of them, here are my reasons for hopefulness this week.

Maternity leave gives me time to reflect on global situations rather than being consumed by the daily grind at work. Hence my thoughts have recently often been with the refugees fleeing to Europe from unimaginable horrors, and meeting with confusion and hostility from some. The thing that amazes and inspires me in this situation is how the ordinary people of Europe have joined together to support them, organizing emergency supplies to welcome these desperate people and show them we are not all blind and deaf to their suffering.

In a similar vein, the election of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the labour party is also a victory for ordinary people showing their commitment to hope for the future. Whatever you think of him and his policies, it is undeniable that he has refreshed the debate and inspired people to re-engage in politics after a long time of many feeling there is no real difference between any of the mainstream politicians. Personally I am delighted that he has already appointed a minister for mental health: a new position that shows his commitment to this issue, and gives me hope that mental health can be given more importance on the agenda in Westminster.

And through the rumour mill at my work, although I continue to hear of managers making poor decisions that affect staff, service users and the budget badly, I also hear my colleagues pointing out the positives of being able to work more consistently with service users and do more in depth work than previously. Power to the individuals struggling on in a bankrupt system. Could things possibly be on the upturn?

Finally last week saw the publication of an E-book called “Homeless but Happy” by a homeless man in Bristol, who has set an example to anyone of how to overcome their circumstances. Not only is he challenging his practical situation through individual action (to crowd-fund his way off the streets), but also refusing to bow his mood to his circumstances. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but just it’s existence gives me hope for us all… maybe you’ll join me and donate to buy it.

So, maybe things are (slowly) changing for the better in the world, or maybe I’m just feeling irrationally hopeful today. All of the above reasons for hope are things that spring from individual people’s strength, integrity and determination. These people encourage these aspects in me, and here’s my final hope for tonight: I hope this blog can act as a mirror to bounce the hope right back at you!

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