By Dawn Onley
Hope is one of those words that is used so much, its meaning has become watered down.
Case in point: I was at the grocery store the other day. Overheard at the Customer Service line, a shopper tells the store clerk that he hopes he wins the Powerball, like hope is some type of black magic that can be conjured up to suit our flights of fancy.
Some think hope is similar to luck or good fortune.
Others think hope is passive. Like, it done climbed up on the porch swing, singing “Kumbaya” and taking in the summer breeze, never bothering to get up and actually do anything. That reminds me of that skit from Delirious when Eddie Murphy says something about a job is not going to just come knocking on the door without us searching it out.
I think hope is the same way. I think hope is summonsed through faith. Hope (noun) is defined as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” In other words, it’s a belief in one’s self, in one’s circumstances, in events, maybe even in the greater context of the country or the world. It’s a belief in the good. Hope is optimistic. Hope expects the best.
Do you know how much courage it takes to hope for something better? When all odds are against you? Do you know that hope is what drives alcoholics, drug addicts to take that first step into Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous? Do you know it is hope that makes the heartbroken pull open the curtains, lift up the blinds and finally get out of bed? It is hope that allows victims of abuse to put one foot in front of the other until they are not just walking into another day, but into their healing.
Hope is what gives prisoners peace in inhumane conditions and what gives those suffering debilitating health conditions the fight to keep going. It is what the unemployed hold onto when filling out job applications and what a mother sees when she looks into the face of her child.
If you take hope away, you might as well take life away, because what is life without hope? Death. And not everyone who’s dead is lying in a cemetery somewhere. “Many people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75,” said Ben Franklin. Lifeless people who are devoid of hope.
Much of what has been created was first a hope in someone’s mind and heart. Of course, hope alone is not enough. There must be follow-up action that waters the seeds of hope to create a garden of possibility. Action without hope is a lackluster, unconvincing effort while hope without action is a dream.
Hope is a powerful start, signaling to God and the universe that we are ready for the good thing. Once hope is coupled with positive action, it becomes a kinetic force that can change the game and our world for the better.
Keep hope alive.