Maggie Oman Shannon is a Unity minister, spiritual director, workshop and retreat facilitator, and author of nine books, including three focusing on how to use crafts to express spiritual qualities. She edited Prayers for Healing, a superb collection of prayers for every day of the year, from all over the world, that views healing in the broadest sense of the term. It has a permanent spot in our prayer corner because we find ourselves returning to it time and again to renew and refresh our prayer life.
Have Hope is another such collection of daily poems, prayers, and meditations. It has an interesting backstory. In the introduction, Oman Shannon admits that she had the idea for this book two decades ago and began collecting quotes with the word "hope" in them; she wanted to see how people through the centuries have used the word and concept to get varying perspectives on it. Since she started the collection, she has raised a daughter, become an ordained minister, and lived through two very different presidential terms (Barack Obama's and Donald Trump's). The book came into its final form during a global pandemic, worldwide protests against systemic racism, and political unrest in the U.S. All these experiences have required her to have hope.
It would be enough to just have this wonderful collection of quotes about hope. But Oman Shannon has gone further. For each day of the year, she has married a quote to an event in history that inspires hope:
* advancements in culture, science, technology, and governance
* advances in societal equality
* historic firsts in politics, the arts, and sports
* achievements made by people in demographic groups other than white males
* birthdays of individuals who have made a significant impact through their lifework.
(See the excerpt for some examples.)
Hope is one of the spiritual practices included in our Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. As Phil Cousineau says in his foreword to this book, "Hope is a practice. Hope is active not passive, a noun and a verb, a muscle that must be exercised or it withers." Consider this volume to be your exercise trainer helping you set goals, encouraging you as you work out, and cheering you on as you bring hope to those around you and the wider world.