Stone and Star: On the Nature of Hope


Hope is a stone
We hold to,
Grip tightly
When pain enters
Unasked for.
In our hand
We can choose
To grip tighter,
To feel something
That we choose,
Like the cowboy
With a bullet 
In his shoulder.
He clenches his fist
To chose to feel
His own grip,
To get through
The pain of the lead
Being cut from within.


Hope is a star,
A distant point of light 
We move toward.
It keeps us;
It holds us.
As the world sways,
We might stay still
But the world heaves
And waves rock us.
And yet still
We can chose 
Something stable,
Brilliant and flaming.
Even if the distant star
Has died,
Its present light
Can call us,
Even forward
In the darkest night.

—Steven Homestead


Hope fascinates me. In the poem above, and in these accompanying thoughts, I’m exploring it. Hope is beyond a star. It isn’t the star that keeps us going, it is the idea behind it. So in a way, Hope is further than that star in a powerful way.

Yet, it is this same distant idea, this held out expectancy, it is this same Hope… within us that inspires. So hope is deeper than a stone we hold. Hope is something we hold within. “Hold onto hope” we say. It is as if Hope were a stone and a star.

How beautifully beyond and within…

It is an inverted incarnation. Instead of taking a thought and making it a physical reality outside of ourselves, when we Hope, we are taking a thought, an idea, a story, a character and making it more real within us. Hope is assimilated, received, ingested. It is our own Eucharist.

That is why Christ Jesus is the Hope we need. He offers to us, not only a story, an idea, a far distant future, and Good news, but a living, breathing person; not just the idea of Jesus, but the fact of his reality—the real Jesus. He is both the Incarnated One and the One by which we become incarnated. Through our Hope in Him, He becomes our inverted incarnation. Again, Hope mirrors communion; we take physical objects, and the reality or symbolism of all that is beyond/undergirding these, and hold them, and then ingest them. Jesus offers us this.

Jesus, He is the stone the builders rejected, but the One we hold to, our very foundation. He is the bright and shining star that we look to in times of darkness. He is our stone and our star, the very Nature of Hope.