The third reflection following a process group centred around making sense of the war between Russia and the Ukraine. In these, I am trying to make sense of the areas I struggle to approach but that lurk behind much of the anger, frustration and fears I have when I get close to all that is happening.

My hope is that they might help you make sense of some things again, too.

(See https://www.thomasrowlandcounsellingservices.com/post/peace-in-pieces and https://www.thomasrowlandcounsellingservices.com/post/the-tyrant-within for the first two reflections).

What’s really the difference between wishful thinking and hope? I suspect the end, the thing anticipated, can differ little. We all would like heaven.

Instead, I have come to believe it is the participation of the hoper in the we. The participation of exposure: to the otherness of the other and the otherness within as much as the likeness of ourselves in the other; exposure to to the reality of ourselves our relationships and and our world where peace lies in pieces.

It is also participation of holding onto the we that has co-created the conditions, forces and climate in which evil emerges and runs havoc. Holding the feelings that emerge as we hold onto we, feelings of guilt, frustration, grief, excitement, weariness.

And it is the participation of free action or passivity chosen to sabotage this climate.

Wishful thinking maintains a they who we wish to be destroyed, at least inasmuch as we wish for a world without them. But it also maintains a saviour who will do the destroying and make everything right, a saviour whose ends justify whatever means and whose endeavours clothe them with honour. We may become such a saviour. We may wait for one, frustrated. We may push others into being one, proud.

Perhaps, then, the end must differ after all. For the end hoped or wished for maintains us and they, or we. Yet, how easy it is to maintain a wishful universal we that still contain the hallmarks of us and they hidden under the surface. Where we all get along magically, or is it really because there is no-one there who we find difficult.

And so, how hard it is to maintain a realist’s hope. Exposure is hard. Participation is hard. We, where we all belong one to another, whoever, is hard. Inadvertently, we choose the conditions for war over this.

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