A User's Manual
MaryAnn McKibben Dana
What hope is, what hope isn’t, and how to find it in hopeless times.
Hope is not optimism. It’s not toxic positivity. It’s not a promise of future success or progress. And it’s definitely not something that can be reduced to a scripty-font platitude on an Instagram post.
So what is it?
One thing is certain: real hope demands that we do something with it. That we live it out. That we use hope to participate in a bigger story playing out behind the bleak world we see on the news or in our social media feeds every day.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a person of faith, or someone disillusioned with faith, or someone who hardly ever thinks about faith: if you’re a human being who longs for a spiritual counternarrative to live by, this book points to one resilient enough to endure crises and crushing defeats. If you’re tired of hearing about some heavenly hereafter amid the pressing need for justice here and now, this is a book about hope for this world—not the next.
After exploring what hope isn’t and then what it is, MaryAnn McKibben Dana reflects on the surprising place where hope is often found—in the messiness of our imperfect, flawed, beautiful human bodies. In the second half of the book, she talks about making hope real: sharing hope through stories, cultivating hope through simple practices, and nurturing hope in hopeless times—when only real hope can persevere.