For the past couple of days, I’ve been asking myself, “What is hope?”
What is this ephemeral something I look for when life feels too hard for words? What am I searching for this week, as COVID case counts continue to multiply, when my loved one’s livelihood dangles over an abyss of uncertainty, and someone else I care about makes the difficult choice to leave the lights off in the business that is their dream and their lifeblood.
What am I looking for when I take one more picture of sunrise, whether it is vibrant with colour or tender with pale light?
For me, hope is that deep, yet often very quiet inner knowing that light exists especially when I can’t see it. It’s the feeling that somehow we will make our way through this profound discouragement and uncertainty by living this moment, this day as best we can.
Hope is what is kindled in me when I hear of random acts of kindness, or when my son offers an unsolicited hug.
As I sat with my own question this morning, I realized that hope is the ability to hold paradox. Hope isn’t denial of the darkness and discouragement and difficulty. It knows just how hard today is … and that there is still comfort and goodness and beauty. That’s what makes it so powerful.
I believe hope is born and nourished in uncertainty. In fact, hope wouldn’t be hope without uncertainty. If I could see exactly how all the good things I want to believe about life were to come to pass, I would be feeling certainty, rather than hope.
Hope is “I don’t know and I trust …”
Hope is “I can’t explain anything and I believe …”
Hope is “I feel discouraged and overwhelmed and I know this isn’t all there is.”
Real hope is also contagious. It is not platitudes or empty reassurances. It’s the hand of a fellow earthling, reaching out in the dark to say, “I’m here.” It says, “I feel the pain, too.” It offers, “Let’s lean on each other and together make our way through.
And this is what I feel when I see sunrise. It reminds me that beauty can’t be stopped, that light always returns, that this moment can bring delight.
Hope … so fragile and so sturdy. May it grow in me today.