Guess what? I have officially been blogging for a week. It’s pretty exciting. Not that you care, but it’s still pretty fun. Now, onto the lovely topic of hope.
I wanted to talk about hope today. I was also thinking about talking love or joy or peace or something else like that, but I felt led to talk about hope. Besides, I feel like hope is a bit misunderstood by people. I think this, because at one point in time, I didn’t understand it very well. So, off we go! Hopefully this will be enlightening, both for you and for me.
Whenever I talk about just one word, I like to get a dictionary definition. However, I didn’t like any of the definitions the dictionary gave me, so I’m not going to give you any of them. The hope that I’m talking about, in my own words is “not having to be afraid, because you know there’s something better”. Yup. Pretty much. And while this may seem obvious, it’s the opposite of hopeless. And you’re looking at me like I’m stupid. No, seriously, it’s easier to define hope as the opposite of hopeless rather than give you twenty million definitions of the actual word. I can tell you’re still kind of skeptical. Here we go.
What does hopeless mean?? The dictionary actually gives us some good words for this (there are some others, but I liked these ones the best, because they show my point), “beyond optimism, despairing, feelings of futility, of passive abandonment to one’s fate”. Aha! Now there’s an interesting idea. Passive abandonment to one’s fate. Let’s say, for example, that you are drowning. You went down to the river by yourself, and you are jumping on rocks, ’cause you’re just silly like that. Then, you slip, fall, and in the water you go! Unfortunately, the river’s very swollen and you’re not the best of swimmers. As you’re drowning, you remember that your mother told you never to do this, and you feel a pang of longing for her. For somebody, at least. But you want your mother, because she makes you feel safe. Water goes in your mouth, you can’t breathe, and you finally accept the fact that your mother isn’t coming for you. You are (I bet you can guess what word I’m going to use) hopeless. And that would be correct, at least in my book it is.
Unfortunately, I just used a bad example, because most of us aren’t drowning every other day (but that part is fortunate, I’m not saying it’s unfortunate that people don’t drown every other day). People do feel hopeless almost every day of their lives, however. Not everybody, but a lot of people. I’m sure this has happened to you: he doesn’t even know my name, oh gosh, how will I be able to explain my grades to my parents?, totally BLEW that audition, what am I going to do with my life now?? These are melodramatic, but we do hear it almost every day. It doesn’t make any sense, because, as with the last example, just because you messed up an audition doesn’t mean you have been sentenced to death and your life is over. Some cases of these melodramatic scenes are the ones who are hopeless, and there are countless of others. I have met people who feel completely alone, and their aching body does nothing to comfort that fact. I have met people who are so plagued by their past, and they can’t. LET. IT. GO. It’s sad, awful actually, especially since I can’t help them with it. I’m reading a book in English right now (summer school, and no, I didn’t fail) called The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien about the Vietnam War. Just reading the first chapter weighs me down with a deep and utter feeling of hopelessness, and I hate it.
You see, I have been given hope. We were talking about hope, remember? And it’s no big feature of my own, it’s a gift from God. Hope, in my definition, is being able to be in those situations where you have every right to be hopeless, but you say, “There is something better.” This isn’t the last straw. I may feel broken right now, but I’m holding out for something better. I’m not afraid, because my hope is in a higher power. I’m not trying to preach here, I’m just trying to tell the truth. I have hope in God, and because of that, I never have to be afraid. I never have to worry if I just ruined my life or worry about what the future is going to be like. I don’t have to wallow in pain and guilt when something bad happens. When circumstances tell me to abandon myself to my fate and wallow in self-pity, I can say, “No. I have hope that there’s something better. Because nothing can take away the promises the Lord has given me. Even death is only a small trifle when compared with the everlasting life I will have after. When death is the worst thing that can happen to me, why should I be afraid?”
Let’s go back to the drowning example. Because I have hope, I can say, “I’m drowning. But that’s not the worst thing that could be happening to me. I could be burnt at a stake or tortured slowly. Hey, at least I had this chance to live, even if it was only a small chance. I may die, and I mean, there is a small chance that someone will find and rescue me, but I’m not afraid.” That is what hope is. Hopelessness is abandonment to fate, but hope is abandoning the present and looking forward to the future. And that definition works for anyone, no matter what god you believe in, or even if you don’t believe in one at all.