“Hope in Times of Adversity”: Hope Lives in Stories Shared

As we come to the end of Just Peace Month, we can take a breath and consider hope. A month of events celebrating ‘Hope in Times of Adversity’. With the right (or perhaps wrong) set of eyes, adversity will spring out from every corner.

Perhaps, though, the hope isn’t to be found in the situation- but in the way that we share our experiences, and share our memories. By storytelling, for example. The act of storytelling is ancient, and human societies have, in general, used the oral tradition to transmit themselves- or how they think of themselves. Each of these stories, whether told or heard, is a ray of hope.

And throughout Just Peace Month, there have been plenty of these rays. Shared experiences. Moments of realisation. Gaps bridged. The stories have been exchanged between generations, different backgrounds, and different life situations. People have been brought together by powerful memories of coming to The Hague. Beautiful music, notes heavy with melancholy, have drifted across the air of the Zuiderpark. Stories, remember, that transmit hope, don’t need to be read aloud.

One theme that has emerged throughout all of the events and activities, is that people want to share their stories. Young, old, from The Hague, or from outside The Hague, stories have permeated the month.

During the opening event, at the Zuiderparktheatre, Haags Verhaal brought out quite the cast of storytellers. One, a gentle man with greying hair, addressed the group about his youth growing up in the city. But he wasn’t really speaking to the group. He was speaking to a young boy in the front row- perhaps seeing a glimpse of himself in the child. The boy, for his part, was completely in awe of the story being told.

This transmission of how we see ourselves, through the act of storytelling, is the transmission of hope. By sharing our memories and personal ideas, we are exchanging ideas of hope. Storytelling, then, is nothing less than sharing parts of ourselves: and sharing part of your character with someone is a hopeful act.

A story has to be shared: or it’s simply someone speaking aloud to an empty room. Each story shared- and each element of ourselves transmitted though storytelling, is in itself some hope passed on.

And during times of adversity, we all need something to inspire hope within us.