Keeping Hope Alive — Radical Courage in Everyday Life Part 2

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is within you. — 1 Peter: 3:15b


“I feel so much better since I gave up hope.”

Startled, I almost shuddered at those words spoken by a friend and accompanied by a bitter laugh.

I refrained from trying to talk him out of such blatant cynicism, but only because I know the way it feels to look forward to something, only to have the hopes and schemes I had cherished and worked for fall apart.

I know what it is like to try to see the bright side of life, only to have my vision obscured by darker clouds.  I know how it feels to have someone tell me, “Cheer up!” when my heart is so heavy I think it might fall out of my body.   I’ve tried putting on a happy face when I am so worried about something  that the demand to stop worrying and pretend something I don’t feel seems like mockery.

Working hard to make my dream come true, I understand the frustration of watching them drift into the horizon, chased by forces beyond my control.

The truth is that giving up hope may be the only way some of us can survive, for sometimes we just wear out.  Sometimes we just can’t tolerate one more letdown,  another failure, betrayal or crushed dream.  Giving up hope feels like the better alternative, a relief in the face of reality.  After giving up hope like my friend, maybe you may feel better because you aren’t waiting for something good to happen.

And yet, there is something in me that still wants to believe that there is “a reason for the hope that is within me.”

When attempting to talk about hope, we are caught in the same bind a when we try to talk about love.  There are so many facets to hope and love, but maybe we trivialize hope when what we really mean is that we are wishing.  Perhaps we should differentiate between hoping and wishing.

2 replies
  1. Jan Hiland
    Jan Hiland says:

    In my mind/heart, now is the time for gratitude…for all that we have: the very many blessings, theopportunities we’ve had, the loved ones in our lives.
    Hope is what will impact others lives as well as our own…a vaccine, effective treatments, safety for essential workers, time for extended families to gather again, a time when we won’t fear contact with others.
    Wishing is more the individual level… time to travel again, hugs with friends at church, things that will restore my personal sense of balance in my heart/mind/soul.

    • Jeanie Miley
      Jeanie Miley says:

      I agree, Jan — and since my understanding of hope continues to evolve and deepen, your wisdom makes me think that gratitude as a regular spiritual practice is a companion to hope, it enhances hope — and perhaps is even evidence of hope-within…..and hopefulness as a way of being in the world increases my ability to be grateful. Does that resonate with you?

      I have thought of you almost every day as I have watched the Pandemic reports each day — and wishing I could have a conversation with you and mine your common sense and wisdom……


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