Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Fear of Hope

Sitting in the corner of a poly-tunnel at my workplace, the market gardens, surveying my domain and trying to get all the cat hairs of my chair, I am reflecting on the nature of hope.

On two sides of me, very close, is the free world.  Within touching distance, it seems, I look at houses on one side and woodland on the other. Waiting for my parole answer sharpens my perspective.  A white butterfly is wandering between the greenhouses.

In my position, that hope grows is inevitable.  To make open prison a success then we must try to shift our focus from the narrow and introspective world that is prison and lift our gaze to encompass, even embrace, outside.  And that cannot be done without a wellspring of hope flowing with increasing power.

This hope is not undiluted.  I cannot allow it to be.  Of necessity hope must be guarded by the fear that disappointment may be the outcome.  And that blow needs to be a burden that is bearable.

Hope can destroy as easily as it can sustain.


  1. No matter what the circumstances are in life, there is always hope. Hope springs eternal.

    I can imagine that it must be hard for you Ben, since you have been in a prison unit of some sort since you were 14 or 15, with only a glimmer of hope for your future, which must have seemed so far off.

    As always though, be confident that hope is always there, it's true that it almost always finds its way into our lives one way or another, so don't be frightened to live with hope in your heart, just be willing and able to change according to the changing circumstances around you. Hope and dream, you must do that, thats our humanity, but also be practical every step of the way, and be aware that most often things do not go the way we would like them to go.

    It is a struggle for us all, and some have it harder than others, but there will be a reason for this, it might not be apparent now but in time you will probably come to realise what its all been about. Best wishes and good luck.

  2. Sometimes (when things are going well), I think Buddhism has it all wrong. Then, at times like this, I think there might be something to it after all. How nice it must be, when everything is uncertain and you are poised between great joy and great suffering and the way the coin falls is out of your hands, to be able to let go of all that emotion and just be. Thinking of you all the time.

  3. Sophie. Lovely sentiments. 'arse. Appropriate name. Shutup.

    1. Thanks for your constructive feedback. I though hard about what you said but decided, on balance, to keep posting. I really appreciate your thoughts though!

  4. This brings tears to my eyes to realise how much suffering there is in all this, for Ben, his friends and supporters and of course the family involved in Ben's crime. Ben must be given a chance now that he has done his punishment - he must be allowed to become a member of society and make his contribution to the world. Ben should definitely not be kept in prison because someone thinks he is difficult to manage - the only reason he should stay is if it is believed he will commit another serious crime. How could anyone believe that in the circumstances - 30 odd years in prison - no violence etc etc? Lots of us are rooting for you Ben, keep calm and strong. Please try to keep writing - we need to know how you and the Ed are coping.

  5. Not very well at the moment, Mary. It's tough not knowing. Ed.


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