I hope I win the lottery.
The Leafs are hopeless.
I hope she likes me.
That boy is hopeless.
Hope is a dish best served with love.
Hopelessness is a dark, lonely place.
I need hope.
I have no hope.
Hope is, in and of itself, such a simple concept isn’t it? I mean it is all about looking forward. A positive spirit. A light.
Having hope implies a future. It is like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. We use the word hope endlessly. And actually I believe it is a most overused and bastardized word, much like love.
For some reason we, as a society, have a tendency to take words of depth and crush them into absolute meaninglessness, mostly by sheer overuse. Love is the example because we love chocolate and we love teddy bears and we love chicken fried steak and we love money. Teenagers are in ‘love’. Couples think sex is love. The divorce rate shows the truth in that. Teen pregnancy rates show the truth in that.
Hope is a critically important word, like love. There is depth and meaning, emotion. Something ‘more’. A spirit if you are so inclined. And we hope for so many things these days don’t we?
I hope we have McDonalds for dinner. I hope that cop doesn’t pull me over. I hope I can finish this in time. I hope my boss doesn’t get mad.
I hope that I don’t die in Afghanistan. If I do, I hope my family will be able to survive and move on.
I hope that a heart becomes available. Am I selfish to think that? Someone has to die to save me. I hope they don’t suffer.
I hope my legs work. I hope I don’t have to be in a wheelchair and be taken care of.
I hope someone can spare me some change. I haven’t eaten in two days.
I hope my dad doesn’t drink tonight. I’m so tired. I don’t want his ‘special’ time any more.
Hurts doesn’t it? Hurts to think we are so shallow and self absorbed. Hurts to forget there are people in this world who are barely hanging on and need real hope.
So what is hope?
Hope is the concept of having a future. Hope is knowing you have a present. And hope implies ‘better’. If you are not in a good place, hope is that things will improve. Whether that means survival, less pain, full belly or something more.
So if you are in a good place, if you are happy, what does hope mean to you? I mean, you could hope that it continues. But really, isn’t that just another selfish statement. So what does the happy person do with hope? This is the crux. This is the great, killer part of hope.
You need to share it. You have to take your joy and send it out into the world. You need to make your hope someone else’s. You need to put your joy on the market for those who need it most. Because you will stagnate without making use of that hope.
Hope is a spirit, no matter what your belief system may be. Hope is the manifestation of joy. So the two groups need each other. The hopeless need the hopeful. There is no hope alone. Hope requires help. Hope demands you make use of it. And the hopeful need the hopeless. Because there is an economy in hope. In order to maintain your stash of hope, you have to invest it. In others. And you will receive it back in spades.
In this society that preaches me above all. In this neighbourhood that requires we look away when the old man next door waves. In this corner of town where we look down on the homeless. In this mall where the snicker at the poor schmuck in the wheelchair. In this school where we tease the girl with the strange bruises. In this park where the teenage boy is drunk and we want him arrested for his anger issues.
Where is their hope?
Here’s a mirror. Do you see it? It’s you. You are their hope. You are their moment of kindness. You are their salvation. You are their light. You are their love.
Yes, I said love. You don’t need a bible to figure out that love is the basis of every gift. Love makes you want to help. If there is no love in your heart, there is no hope. And those hopeless souls who need help, need a hand, need someone will remain.
Hope is the basis of society as is love. It is the ‘we’. It is the ‘us’. We are one. Unfortunately that basic truth is a lie. Right now we are far from one. But it sits upon each of our souls to take back that darkness. To rip open the shroud and show the light.
I am you and you are me and we are all together.
Aren’t we? I live in hope…