A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star

Unreasonable Hope for the Coming Year

Hope is, by its very nature, unreasonable. It is not based on empiric evidence. Shane Lopez, editor of the Oxford Handbook of Hope, defined it as:

“The belief that the future will be better than the present, along with the belief that you have the power to make it so.”

Today, we feel the need for such unreasonable hope, without deluding ourselves to think that it is grounded in evidence. No. Our hope for the year ahead is grounded in a belief that it will be better and in part, it will be better because of the work that we and other people of goodwill can do in the coming year.

Overcoming Threats to Our Health

The past two years have not been good for our health. When we started 2020, our hope was for a year of more compassion. Instead we got COVID. With that, we saw sharply contrasting responses. Politics jumped into science. But nonetheless, science came through with amazing vaccines in a timeframe that few people thought was possible

Healthcare providers stretched themselves to the limits – and beyond – caring for people whose lives were threatened or lost to this nasty virus. It was a virus that aimed its greatest suffering at the people who were most vulnerable – older people, disenfranchised people, and people with conditions that put them at risk (like obesity).

In the face of all this, we have survived. We have mourned the loss of more than five million people around the world. But we have moved ahead. When we see people doing their best to bear one another up, we take heart. So we have rolled up our sleeves and gotten our vaccines and boosters – even though some 15 percent of U.S. adults remain stubbornly resistant to this sensible measure. We still have work to do on vaccine equity. But smart and passionate people – who deserve our support – are working on this. More and better vaccines are on the way.

So yes, we have unreasonable hope that 2022 will be a year of progress in overcoming numerous threats to our health. Even in the face of omicron, we have reasons to believe that we can do this. Still, we know that this hope is more about faith than facts.


Just as we did when 2020 was the new year, we hope that 2022 will be a year of goodwill. Though we have reasons, we also know that this is an unreasonable hope. We hope that angry voices will become quieter. We will strive to muster compassion for people who make choices that seem bad to us. When we see something that is good, we will find ways to build it up.

This is how 2022 can be a year of goodwill.

For more on unreasonable hope, click here.

A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star, painting by Samuel Palmer / WikiArt

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December 26, 2021

One Response to “Unreasonable Hope for the Coming Year”

  1. December 26, 2021 at 12:12 pm, ANGELA GOLDEN said:

    Dear Ted, thank you for this posting. It has so very much packed in to it. My wish (hope) for 2022 is what you mention near the end. For each of us to be vigilantly watching for those who are lifting up others and commend them for this – a simple thank you to let them know they are appreciated could go along way towards improving all our lives and by reflection our health. (and gratitude has research to back us up 🙂
    Happy New Year to everyone.