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I think it will be of use if I try

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The other day I was talking to someone about hoping for (and working toward) a better world. The occasion was the perceived futility of cutting down - or stopping - eating animal products: "Are you saving the world with that now?", and the answer, of course, is "no. Right? By the way, this is not just about fleeting hipster ecology, it's about all hope for a better world. To want to do the right thing against a lazy "better judgment. Not only hope have, but also want to get out of there life.

I had jotted down these words in a short note when the next day I was this thought by Rikko Voorberg: 'Looking forward to another world can rather easily cause you to give up in this world. That this is just a rotten existence, but yes, what can you do about it. You would hope for peace, wouldn't you?' (...) 'I don't know what the right thing to do is. And the only way to find out is to try.'

Voorberg then quotes a text by Bonhoeffer:

Not what you wish for, but resolutely doing the right thing. Not dreaming about possibilities, but fearlessly grasping reality. Freedom lies not in lofty thoughts, but only in action. Hesitate no longer, enter the storm and act, carried by God's word and your faith, rejoicing freedom will receive your spirit.

And then in the same week, in a interview with the BBC, those words of brave 16-year-old Lucie being threatened by a large bald aggressive adult man during a counter-demonstration (against the far right):

"I went to the counter-demonstration as someone who is determined to change things. I think it will be useful if I try to do that".

That touches me. That touches what I myself believe in and want to stand for. Not just hoping for the good, but an active hope. A decisive love. I am reminded of what I once wrote in Life-size dreams: 'Many of our wishes have the hankering for an escape from reality, but the dream I'm talking about is about enlarging and deepening reality. Not less, but more is possible.'

A dream is not the opposite of reality, but an image of what reality can be.

That, in a sense, is childishly naive. It is carrying water to the sea, yes. It is hoping for spring in winter. With that, it reminds me of those words of Jesus, "if you do not change and begin to believe as a child, you will not be able to enter the kingdom of God" (Mat.18). As I have mentioned before that no a-critical belief, but a faith full of trust and hope.

The cure for a sick, angry, broken world, is not sickness, anger and more brokenness (from: The Way I Feel). It is healing, love and growth. And no matter how small that seed is, only from that can hope blossom and flourish. Then out of winter can follow spring. So when I ask myself the question "does it make sense to do something that seems useless on a large scale?" the answer is a resounding yes. And that is why my heart resonates when I hear others say 'I think it makes sense if I try'.


Erwin de Ruiter

"One man tries to express himself in books, another in boots; both are likely to fail." - G.K. Chesterton

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