I think we need two kinds of hope. There's transformative hope - the hope of a better tomorrow and the impulse to be part of it, even if just a small part.
And then there's hope as a hand-hold. The small but unquenchable hope that gets you through the day and keeps you going.
The good thing is that both types of hope are communicable - you pass on your hope to others and they in turn lend their strength to you.
Our hopes stand strongest at New Year - and here are some quotes I used last Sunday when talking about this at my old Unitarian meeting house in Lewisham.
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Everyone's got roots in the past, but they've got roots in the future too.
Spider Robinson, Callahan's Crosstime Saloon
Hope is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
Emily Dickinson, Hope is the thing with feathers (full version here)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Martin Luther King
To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.
Hope calls for action. Action is impossible without hope.
Rebecca Solnit, Hope In The Dark
We must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation
And a bonus telling of the Pandora myth from the wonderfully named Thomas Bulfinch. Interesting to note that Pandora's name means 'giver of gifts' and the story as we know it may well be an inversion of a previous cornucopia.