Sometimes we achieve the impossible sooner than we expect. Knowing that can stiffen our resolve. But it can also tempt us to place too much emphasis on outcomes; it can cause us to become unduly impatient, brittle, setbacks easily breaking our will. A deeper, more farseeing hope, by contrast, combines realism with resilience, acknowledging terror and suffering without giving in to them.
There is even a kind of hope beyond hope, which happens only when we're willing to act whether or not we ever see results. By letting go of impatient hope we can keep on no matter how hard it gets. Tangible victories matter; if we're facing a critical election, for instance, we need to do everything possible to ensure that humane values prevail. Yet we won't always win, so we need ways to persist no matter what the outcome. The more we accept that we can't control all the results of our actions, the more we free ourselves to keep doing the work that seems most necessary.
"Beyond Hope" from an introduction to a group of essays in
The Impossible Will Take a Little While