Leadership

From Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry: Reading and Meditation

August 29, 2020  • Hannah Wardell

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From Hannah Coulter, Wendell Berry

Meditation

This passage is an excerpt from Wendell Berry’s acclaimed novel Hannah Coulter, the story of a woman’s life, love, and loss in a small Kentucky town. This passage follows the news that her young husband has gone missing in action not long after they are married. As she reflects on what her life must look like now, Hannah reflects out what it means to live in the wake of such odd news. She must grieve his absence, but does she grieve it for the moment or forever? What does it mean to have hope–hope for his return but also hope for herself even if he doesn’t? 

This passage makes a distinction between expectations and hope. It’s tricky because they are nearly the same but fatally different. What do you think the difference is between hope and expectations? When in your life have you had one or the other and were their consequences? Do you find it hard to have hope? How do you keep your hope from turning into expectations?

Hannah Wardell, Colorado Springs, CO

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