The Power of Hope
23rd March 2023
‘You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming’ (Pablo Neruda).
HOM: Metacognition – Thinking about Thinking
Pablo Neruda was the pen name of Chilean writer and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1971 but more than once, he had to flee for his life for holding views considered unacceptable to the Chilean government at the time. Though he died from cancer in 1973 at the age of 69, many believe it may have been a result of poisoning, and he was denied a public funeral. However, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the military curfew and crowded the streets to honour him.
Learning about Neruda cast a whole new light on how I initially understood the above quotation as a metaphor for a life of persecution experienced by Neruda and others. Whilst many voices were silenced by dictatorship, it would never prevent the eventual emergence of hope and freedom, signified by the emergence of spring after a hard winter: ‘you can cut all the flowers but cannot keep spring from coming’.
And spring really is coming – hurrah! The signs were there on my walk last weekend as the snowdrops are now joined by hellebores, primroses, celandine and narcissi. The birds also seem to be gearing up for spring with some collecting twigs for nest building, and there was a multiplicity of birdsong (if you don’t know your birdsong I can recommend a brilliant app, BirdNET). After the cold and darkness of winter, these signs of spring remind us that whilst there has been loss, the shoots of hope are pushing above the ground.
And during our forthcoming holiday, Christians around the world will be celebrating Easter, the most important time on the church calendar. It is a time for Christians to reflect on how God’s love was made visible in the sacrifice of Christ. This was an act of selfless love so that God’s children might be free to flourish as forgiven people, and what greater expression of hope is there as a reminder that hope can spring from adversity. So, this Easter look out for the advent of spring in more ways than one and have a refreshing break.