I use the word ‘hope’ a lot.
I love the word ‘hope’, if it’s possible to love a word.
It’s the kind of word that makes you feel good inside. You can’t help but finish saying the word in a meaningful way. Try it. See, I’m right aren’t I? You can’t say the word ‘hope’ and make it sound negative.
Why is that though? Why is it a word people seem to be using all the time? Whenever people see the Hope Movement logo, their eyes light up. It’s like they are intrigued and attracted to the symbol of an anchor in front of them. Many don’t even know what we do when they start to ask us about the name. It’s quite fascinating really. The logo for HM was made in the wee hours of the morning and the name was placed in my heart and that of my friends long before we knew each other, or even fathomed Hope Movement could actually exist. I’d go as far to say it is a divinely inspired name. So, we can’t really take credit for any of it, except that we ran with a good idea that a lot of people seem to align themselves with.
This positive response has made me ponder the question-
What is hope?
hope |həʊp|noun [ mass noun ]1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. A person or thing that may help or save someone. Grounds for believing that something good may happen.2 archaic a feeling of trust.
I’ve known the dictionary definition for a long time, but for such a powerful word that inspires so many, surely there is more to it than merely… a feeling. I believe that this is a question only you can answer. Hope is a personal thing. Hope is outworked in our lives and we only really begin to befriend him and experience his presence in our lives, when we are forced to fall to our knees. This moment of angst is founded in the realisation that there must be something more then what we are currently experiencing, because if there is not, we can not survive. Hope is an anchor when the winds of life try to steer us off course. Hope keeps us afloat.
“Hope, is still being alive.”
Hope met me in the quiet morning hours when I lay in bed, fearful of the suicidal thoughts plaguing my mind. Hope met me when I fled from a huge crowd in fear and anxiety. Hope met me in the moment I thought he had left me for good. Hope sat with me that night on the beach, when I was sprawled in the sand, crying out to God for an answer. Hope sheltered me that night in my room when I was young and heard cries of desperation and hatred in my street. Hope held me today when I cried at the state of the world. Hope talks to me in the pages of my journal as I reflect on the past and dream of the future. Hope sent me a message the night my grandfather passed away. Hope meets me when I least expect him too and when I feel I least deserve it.
To me, hope is a he. Hope is real and tangible. He is always with me, but I often only seem to recognise him when I am desperate and groping around in darkness. Hope is my friend. Hope is real.
“Hope is the power to dream, the power to hold on and to let go. Hope is what makes you unbeatable. Hope is the reason we fight, the reason we love. Hope is our salvation”
I asked some of my Facebook friends recently what they thought about hope. Their answers are throughout this blog, but here are a few more of them:
“Hope is not necessarily the light at the end of the tunnel… it’s the thought in the darkness that maybe… just maybe, even though I can see no light now–things can be different in the future.”
“I would say hope is the knowledge that, despite what life may tell us or have us believe, each and every one of us ARE loved, valuable and special, that we can share this hope with those around us and with the world at large. For me, as you know, I believe that hope comes from God our creator.”
“Hope is Round 19, 2011 AFL season. Hope is Tom Hawkins from 55 meters out.”
“Hope to me is the possibility of coming out of a hard situation or being able to keep on going either in a good or bad situation.”
“For me, ‘hope’ is the belief that no matter how bad one’s situation might be, God has given us the power to overcome our circumstances. Therefore, ‘hope’ is the trust one places in God.”
“‘The light at the end of the tunnel’ . No matter how dark life is, it is always good to remember that the dark tunnel will come to an end and you will reach that new shining bright day!”
Powerful, hey? I was blown away by the answers given. Each made me think of Hope in a different way.
Hope brings life. Hope brings meaning. Hope brings us purpose. Hope comforts. Hope drives us to persevere and make change for the good of others.
Hope keeps me sane.
I almost ‘lost it’ that day in grade six when I was bullied and told no one liked me. By ‘lost it’, I mean I cried a bit, ranted a bit and then felt overwhelmed and powerless in the situation presented before me. And if it’s not already clear, when I say ‘lost it’, by ‘it’ I mean Hope. I almost ‘lost it’ that time I realised I was chronically sick. I almost ‘lost it’ that night I lay in bed, questioning where God was as I suffered in pain. I almost ‘lost it’ those times I drove to work, trying to combat a full blown anxiety attack behind the wheel, practicing deep breathing exercises. I almost ‘lost it’ that time I shouted at God, tears streaming down my face from an overwhelming sense of inability to handle my life, much less impact others lives positively.
“I’m holding onto hope that one day this would be made right”
In those times, Hope met me and held me. Hope did not so much show me his grand vision for the future, but allowed me to see that this time of chaos would pass. Hope reminded me that I am not what I am experiencing or thinking. Hope let me know that if he had anything to do with it, things would work out. Hope proves himself trustworthy, time and time again.
I almost ‘lost it’ today when I reflected on the vision I saw on the television screen. The people I observed and the situation seemed too great, my resources and knowledge too small, my heart too fragile to deal with the overwhelming notions of injustice and inequality. The words from the news articles I was reading jumped at me, kicking me in the gut. The images on the screen grabbed my heart and made it overflow in compassion. The words I heard made my eyes sting and water. I wondered, “Where is Hope in this world?” Then he spoke through the words of a wise man,
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Hope himself was not mentioned. But I knew he was speaking to me through Mandela’s words. Today, Hope reminded me that he had the ability to live inside every individual. Hope reminded me, that not only was he able to sustain me and lead me, but he could show others himself through me.
What is missing in these situations of hopelessness is love, and love and hope dance together endlessly. When Hope meets me in my darkest hours, he is always loving. He is always kind. He is always for me. Hope is loving and Hope loves me, he won’t go away. So, today, I realised that although I am but one person, I am one person with Hope. I am one person who can love another. And where people dwell, Hope can dwell. I am moved by compassion. I am moved to stand up for those who have lost Hope and I speak for them in the desire that they may catch the ember of Hope flickering within me, that he could make his home in their hearts also. We can spread this flame of Hope in our words, in our actions, in our love towards others.
For that is Hope. It is a fire that can not be quenched. It is a love that can not be nullified. It is a person who chooses to live. It is the weary soul that chooses to believe there is a greater purpose. It is the voice that speaks for the oppressed. Hope conquers. Hope restores. Hope wins. Hope pursues us and invites us to allow himself into our lives.
What is Hope to you?
“Hope is a person who loves me. That person is ultimately Jesus but hope also exists, functions and is experienced within a loving relationship with others also.”