I want to keep Hope alive.

I used to think Hope was a mug’s game–foolishly optimistic thinking (in the manner of Pollyanna) that eventually turned into bitter cynicism.  There were times, when I was filled with the blackest despair, that Hope seemed to be nothing more than cruel, impotent wishful thinking.  We cannot impose our will on Fate or Destiny, so what was the point of Hope?

Last Saturday, I attended a Quiet Day at my church, meditating on the subject of Hope (our theme for this Advent season).  We all sat–quietly–thinking about this thing, but no one shared the fruits of their thoughtfulness, which was too bad, because I find that other people often think better than I do.

I wrote something in October, during the Hurricane and Fire/Wild Shooting/Political Villainy portion of the year, in which I mentioned that so long as there are people who are selflessly indignant about the injustices in the modern world, all is not lost–the potential of goodness is still there.  It was a commentary on potential.  The article was well-received.  One person actually sent me a thank-you note.

From my meditations, I realized that hope is a necessary first step in having faith– in almost anything.  Hope is the conscious admission of possibility, and once you admit the possibility, the potential of Faith is unleashed.  We have to allow ourselves to let go of those things we believe that block being hopeful, especially any thought that we do not deserve better than we have at the moment.  We deserve to surrender our doubts, and allow ourselves to expect positive change.

I discovered that Hope has a lot to do with attitude–nothing good grows in darkness.  In the face of disappointment and frustration, we can decide (which is difficult to do) that what has happened is not the end of things, but only one step on a path.  It isn’t necessary to know exactly how a situation will be resolved, but only to believe that it will be.

If you have no hope, there is nothing from which faith can grow.  If you do have hope, then you are open to the possibility of things improving.  Hope is openness, and hope is confidence.  Hope is an acknowledgement of potential–things can improve.  When we are open and confident that SOMETHING will happen to improve our lot, we are also open to seeing and understanding the events around us in a better light.

So, I really want to keep hope alive, for myself and for others.  I want us to be realistic–this isn’t likely to get better or cease overnight.  At the same time, I want to see an end to despair, and an end to the false belief that things will not change.  They will, they do, but you have to have eyes to see those changes.

We are about to enter a new calendar year.  2017 has not been kind to the world, for the most part, and as 2018 approaches, we have a choice.  We can enter the new year with a light, or a blindfold.

That’s really all the control we have over our Fates and Destinies.  To me, that’s a relief!

Paul TN Chapman

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