By Dr. James Peterson | The Philadelphia Citizen
Hope is infinite. In one of his writings from shortly before his death, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised us that “we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” This is King-as-Preacher, ministering to the congregation of humanity, delivering a salve for what ailed us then and, of course, what ails us now.
These days, the disappointments feel infinite — terrorism in Israel and unspeakable death in Gaza, a tyrannical war in Ukraine, the rise and return of fascism in Europe, famine in Africa, and the withering deterioration of our environment. This list goes on — but the fact that these things will end is incontrovertible. Wars end. Fascist movements end. Famines end. And yes, even our world as we know it, at some point, will end.
How then, can we talk about hope in this moment and in this time of critical crises at home and abroad?
This is where the power of infinite hope kicks in. King’s words about finite disappointment and infinite hope compel us to take his directive as a whole. These words are a bifurcated rhetorical model, one through which we can wrestle with disappointment — accept disappointments at some point — but … and the “but” in the aforementioned King quote is doing yeoman’s work here. That acceptance is inextricably linked to an infinite reservoir of hope available to all of us.
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Written by: James Peterson
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