I was browsing through a store at the Munich airport, waiting for a flight to Sweden, when a series of postcards caught my eye. One in particular stood out. The illustration was stunningly simple and directed my eye to its message: look out for hope. The card is by the German artist, illustrator Julia Schonlau and is posted here with her approval. I bought it, brought it home and placed it on my beside table. There, from its perch, it has been speaking to me, quietly overtime infiltrating my thoughts. I thought I’d share some of the things it has been saying to me…
- “…meditate on “hope”.” I realized that I tend to use the word hope rather loosely. I’ll often say to someone, I hope you have a great day. But hope is much bigger than a wish. Clinical psychologist Rick Snyder, at the University of Kansas, has developed what he calls hope theory. The theory suggests that hope is behind a position our minds take toward circumstances that alters our outlook and our action. What we hope for has a lot to do with what becomes. Hope is deep seated, visceral and a real matter of the heart. Hope is what Martin Luther King had and it should be what drives every nonprofit. G. K. Chesterton said, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.” Look out for hope in a good case for support.
- “…I wonder what the writer is trying to say with “lookout for hope”?” I can read the simple and not-so-simple phrase many ways. Has someone lost hope and is looking to find it again? Is the writer saying to look out for, as in take care of, hope? Or, maybe the writer means Look out! because if you find someone who has a healthy measure of hope, or if you find it, nothing is impossible. The message leaves room for interpretation. I like that.
- “…could the text be referring to a person, as in look out for Hope?” I suppose hope is always a person.
- “…words are powerful.” From its perch on my bedside table the card has been speaking to me. It has caused me to meditate, converse and write.
- “…the medium matters.” I am not thinking of Marshall Mcluhan and his theory about the medium being the message. I am simply thinking about the vehicles that carry messages. I wonder if we, in the nonprofit sector, do a good job of packaging our messages so they can seep into the people they are intended for and release their meaning over time? The card has staying power.
- “…the illustration helped not hindered.” The illustration got my attention. I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl, but it is a person. It’s not a tree or a seed, tired imagery in our sector. This is fresh. Engaging. Feeling. It focuses my eye. I know where to look and I keep looking at it, still.
Three questions, in closing:
- What does look out for hope say to you?
- Can you find hope in your organization’s case for support?
- If, on your donors’ bedside tables, you could post a message–the kind that would take root in their thoughts and in their hearts–what would it be?
Make a great case for you cause.
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