Hope has many meanings. The word expresses our everyday wishes, desires, and expectations. It also describes the better world we envision and strive for. — Click to Tweet

“Small h” and “Big H” Hope

There’s what I call “small h hope,” which expresses our feelings and is about the important connections and the rhythms of our daily lives lives. It gets expressed like this:

  • I hope to see you again soon.
  • I hope you get that promotion.
  • I hope this repair doesn’t cost too much!

Then there’s “big H” hope – which is expressed with words that share our vision for better lives and a better world:

  • I hope that our country can find a way to provide affordable health insurance for all.
  • I hope that a solution can be found for global warming and climate change.
  • I hope to see an end to racial violence.

I love how Charlie Gilkey and Angela Wheeler discuss the importance of “small h” hope in this audio recording. What I find important in it is the idea that repeated opportunities to build our “small h” hope both reduces some of the need for “big H” hope. I think it also strengthens our capacity for holding persistence in the face of difficulty or challenges to our “big H” hope.

Hope Connects Us

Both “small h” and “Big H” hopes connect us to one another, and to ourselves — Click to tweet

“Small h” hopes communicate our compassion and our wishes for ourselves and others. It is rooted in what is happening in our own and others’ immediate experiences and the outcomes we hope to see happen,  “Big H” hope is based on our true inner voice, the one that comes from our most deeply held beliefs and values.They connect us with others as well, as we need one another to realize our “big H” hopes. Because the work toward “big H” hopes is a long-term thing, and the issues are big, we need those connections to persist over time and to make an impact. Our voice alone may not be enough, but our voice combined with many others can make a difference.

Building Hope for Yourself and for Others

I’m amazed by the power of just “presencing” hope by talking about it as a group and inquiring into it through your set of questions – hope lives in each of us, and when we talk about it, it begins to flow between us.


~ James Porter

Taking part in deep, heartfelt conversations that explore the meaning of hope is meaningful for all involved – participants and facilitator. There is something transformative about holding these conversations with a group of committed others. I’ve found myself moved each time I offer one. It’s as though I bring the needed ingredients, and then as the group puts them together, the magic emerges.

A Wonderful Way to Build Hope

As James Porter says so well,

The simple gift of of convening and supporting hopeful conversations is huge in itself.

I want share that gift with you, so you can use it with those you reach through your own connections. Here’s a link to the Department of Hope Discussion Guide, developed in collaboration with James. — Click to Tweet

The discussion guide is yours to use – no charge. I ask that you acknowledge the authors, and share the Department of Hope blog when publicizing and holding your gathering.


Comment below or contact me directly.


Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

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