I live an enormously privileged life.

I live in one of the most beautiful, peaceful, affluent, and gentle places on earth. As CBC commentator Rex Murphy has said, “If you were born in the West, you’ve won the only lottery that really counts from the very first moment you take air.”

I am healthy. I have a good and fulfilling job that is never dull. I live in a lovely home. I have plenty to eat, an amazing and stable family who all live nearby. My life is relatively secure and safe. I am in almost every possible way, deeply blessed.

I am spoiled.

There is not much need in my life for hope.

What could I hope for?

For me to hope my life might be different is inappropriate and ungrateful.

But, I understand that the physical and material blessings of life are not equally distributed. There are people in the world who have spent their entire lives surrounded by danger and violence. There are parents who struggle every day to provide adequate nourishment for their children. There are people who live with the anguish of paralyzing inner mental turmoil.

I have seen enough desperate suffering, pain, loneliness, and despair to know that, for some people, hope that things might be different is the tenuous thread that keeps them going from one day to the next.

How can we hold out hope in situations that seem hopeless, while avoiding doing violence to the realities of the present moment?