Years ago, I was lucky to hear the legendary Rev. Prof. Peter Gomes reference a distinction that Vaclav Havel made between hope and optimism. I recall Rev. Gomes noting that optimism was not really so useful, since optimism could be crushed in the face of failure. But hope, he said, was a much deeper, enduring thing.
This week, I finally looked up Havel’s original context. Here are some excerpts from The Politics of Hope:
Yes, I am usually optimistic. And yes, sometimes that optimism is crushed.
But beyond that optimism, I am always hopeful.
Whatever your endeavors, big or small, easy or impossible, may they be hopeful.