I want to write about Hope. I had a conversation once with someone who believed that hope was futile, that it did nothing useful; it didn’t put food on the table or pay the bills or build a house for a homeless family. That discussion took place many many years ago, but I’ve never forgotten his words, or my own inability to counter his opinion because, well, how could I? Everything he said is true.
And yet, I know without a doubt that I would not be here today without Hope. In the mid-1980’s I suffered through a very long, dark, lonely stretch of profound depression. At its worst, utter desolation and despair with nothing left to hold onto, not even my faith. I was utterly completely lost in futility and despair, beyond reach, unable to face another day. I should have died…my doctor told me years later that had the ambulance gotten me there even 10 minutes later, I probably would not have survived. But I did. And because I did, Hope became my constant companion from that day onward.
It wasn’t easy coming back from those depths of despair. There were many setbacks; progress seemed to be that proverbial three steps forward, two steps back. But life surrounded me with good, nourishing people to help me through. And Hope helped me to open my eyes to the possibilities within my reach and the simplest accomplishments to celebrate. One day – no, even more basic than that – one MOMENT at a time. That was all I could handle for a very long time.
That was a very long time ago. Sometimes I allow myself a glance back at that journey. It makes me weep. All I have to do is close my eyes to remember that feeling of drowning in the quicksand of futility…as much as I love words, and I know a lot of them, there simply aren’t enough words in the world to accurately paint for you a true picture of the indescribably miserable agony and dark desolation of those nights-that-knew-no-morning.
There must have been computers around by that time (1984), but access to the Internet as we know it today didn’t exist back then. There was not much in the way of support networks. I felt alone and isolated and the depression rendered me incapable of reaching out for help because the futility told me it was no use anyway. Hope would have whispered a different message if I had been able to hear it…but I couldn’t hear anything above the crushing darkness and deafening beckonings of futility.
But when I woke up with my second chance, I awoke with a determination to cling to Hope for dear life – because I WAS alive – and glad to be alive. My heart was filled with relief to have another chance to figure it out and crawl my way through to the other side of this dark hole I was in…Hope allowed me to believe that there WAS another side to crawl through to.
Despair had told me there was nothing else but this darkness…Hope told me that there was much more…that it would take hard work and perseverance, but that it would all be worth it when I got there.
And it was. And it has been well worth it all.
Hope. Allows you to believe that there’s something else beyond this seemingly impenetrable darkness, that’s there’s more than just this miserable moment. Hope allows you to whisper into your own heart “Be brave, this too shall pass”, knowing that somehow, someday it WILL pass. Hope allows you to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when you can’t see where you’re going, trusting that eventually you will find light and new horizons just around one of these bends. Hope helps you keep moving yourself forward to that next bend in the road.
Hope. I wouldn’t be here without it. Hope didn’t put food on my table but led me to the people who nourished me – and loved me back to life – with sustenance and care. Hope didn’t pay my bills, but helped me open the door so that social welfare could step in and provide emergency funds to tide me over until I could work again. Hope didn’t build me a house, but nudged me to find the people who helped me find affordable comfortable shelter while my body and spirit mended.
Hope. I know that there are others out there who are struggling like I did. Who are drowning in that quicksand of futility and feeling like there’s no way out. I speak my Hope for them, hoping that my Hope will be a bright beacon of possibility for them to cling to until they find their own. I share my stories and my journeys so that others can see that someone else MADE IT THROUGH…oh yes, it IS possible, it’s do-able, and it’s worth it.
Hope. Hope is what carves out paths where there are none. Hope is what opens our eyes to see doors and possibilities that we didn’t see before. Hope is what impels us forward, even if we have to crawl on wounded hands and knees through blinding darkness to get from this moment to the next.
Hope. I want everyone who ever reads this post to find Hope here. I hope that my Hope is contagious enough to nudge others through to that next bend in their road. Keep walking. Keep Hope close. Hope will get you through to the other side, and from there you will then be able to reach out and speak Hope to others who need to hear it, and they will be able to hear your Hope – because you made it through.
Hope. It’s worth holding onto.
Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings Blogging The Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.