“but hope that is seen is no hope at all. who hopes for what they already have?”
this quote comes from the Bible, in a book called Romans. chapter 8, verse 24.
we all hope for things that we don’t have, or for things we can’t see.
i’ve been thinking about hope a LOT lately. more than usual. i will clarify: i think about hope pretty regularly in my everyday life. if i didn’t there’s no way i could get through a single day. or hour. perhaps even minute, it depends on the day.
it’s also helpful that more folks are talking about hope than ever before, like To Write Love On Her Arms (also called twloha), which is an organization designed to raise awareness about suicide, depression and self-harm, among other issues.
twloha made a sweatshirt that read in huge letters on the front: “we will be the hopeful.”
i have worn it twice in the week since i bought it, and it has served its purpose. this last week has been one in which i need to believe in hope more than ever.
walking down the street last friday, a perfect stranger pointed at me and yelled, “i like your shirt!” and he was only the beginning. at coffee shops, at work, with friends . . . everybody has been talking about things that lead me to believe: hope is a universally desired trait.
everybody wants something to hope FOR, and put hope IN.
we will be the hopeful.
the questions are: how does anyone decide what to hope for, or put hope in?
i’ve got a few things to say about that.
i hope for peace in my family. strength of character and determination to follow steps of integrity regardless of the challenges placed before us. determination and commitment to one another in days that seem devoid of hope. laughter and joy that reminds us we are not alone, and that each day is new.
i hope for awareness in my community about the needs of people who are forgotten about. by this i mean the least talked about demographic of society: the mentally ill, kids in the foster care system, individuals without financial and spiritual resources. the determination of a strong few to bring about conversations and movements to the many, despite how difficult those moments may be.
i hope for encouragement to be common. that each of us would look around and see that there are battles every day against sadness, and individual opinions can sometimes take a backseat to kindness. it would be great if i overheard people saying uplifting words to one another. an even playing field of compassion, despite lack of personal gain.
i hope for more people that do incredible things. the foster parents that i work with on a daily basis, who inspire me with their selflessness. the friends i have who dedicate their lives to doing stuff that nobody else wants to do. what if there were more folks who wanted to serve others than there were folks that needed to be served.
how did i choose these things? the answer is found in what i put my hope in.
i hope in Jesus Christ.
what does that mean? when i was 14 years old, i looked around at the world and i realized that i felt afraid. i looked at my own heart and my own abilities, and realized that i had none that were worthwhile. i looked at the community and saw fear, brokenness, and uncertainty. i found those things within my spirit and realized that my mind was consumed with darkness that could destroy me.
desperate, i sought. even though i was only a teenager, i knew that any solution to the trouble within me could not be found in the world that had caused it. because of this, i was willing to consider that something abstract and impossible to understand could actually be the answer to everything that didn’t make sense. how is that possible? i don’t know. to this day, i don’t get it.
but i know one thing for sure: i asked for proof that it was real. shouted, actually. to the sky while lying on my back on the grass in my front yard. i demanded proof, and it had to be tangible.
i was given hope.
and hope, i discovered, is more tangible than anything.
i can feel it pulsing in my chest when tears threaten to burn through everything i’ve ever known. i can feel it in the pit of my stomach when i want to give up so very, very much, but i know that i shouldn’t. and i can feel it in my head when i am given thoughts that defy the circumstances, like: “be still,” when all i want to do is yell at a God who i know is not afraid of me.
He is the one who has taught me that all humans matter. that each person has dignity, value, and worth. and that the expectations that we have put on each other are often incorrect. from His words i have discovered that regardless of who you are, what your past looks like, or where you find yourself right now, there is hope. and it’s found in Him.
so i will be one of the hopeful. and with each day, i see why.
because i hope for things that i don’t already have, and may never see.
but that hope gives me the courage to set my alarm every night, and brush my teeth every morning.
and do stuff that i couldn’t do otherwise. i’m living a story where i don’t know the ending.
but i believe that there is someone who does.
to get a sweatshirt like mine (and see what twloha is up to): http://twloha.com/