Is Hope Always Good for Us?

“There is hope out there.” This is how I was quoted when I was interviewed for our local newspaper. I believe that is true and I use that premise as the basis for my speaking engagements. I survived a life changing event when I became paralyzed. Now I am standing, walking and driving. I encourage others to have hope. I recently read a blog by Rev. Dr. David J. Lose, who holds the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, that made me think twice about hope.  In his regular blog entitled,    “…In the Meantime,” he challenges the thought that hope is always positive. He writes:

“Hope is beautiful like a sonata from Mozart. It’s beautiful because it’s something that you can hold on to when you’ve lost everything else. And it’s beautiful because it’s something that creates possibilities that have very little do with your immediate circumstances, possibilities that stretch you beyond the confines of what you can imagine here and now.

But, hope turned to expectation is dangerous. It can disappoint you, let you down, and even crush you if it turns out to be false.

Hope creates not just the possibility, but also the energy and motivation…to act, to dare, to believe.

So maybe hope is that condition of being caught between beauty and danger, between possibility and despair, between freedom and fear.

In the movie, “Hope Floats”, actress Sandra Bullock says, “Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s everything in between that makes it all worth living.”

And so I’m willing to risk the possibility that my Christian faith is a false hope. Because, while I won’t know the outcome for some time, when the time comes I’d rather have spent my life living in the light of a good and honest hope – even if it ultimately turns out to be false – than live without hope and joy in the meantime. Which is why hope is not just beautiful and dangerous, but also good, the gift of the Giver of all good things.”

I must admit, when I was told I would be paralyzed for the rest of my life, I did not have the hope of ever walking again. I continued to strive for just a little more mobility. First it was the ability to get out of my bed and into my wheelchair without a lift device. Then it was standing long enough to get a glass out of my cupboard. I always had a new goal that moved me forward.

When he heard of my success, my doctor at the Mayo Clinic responded with a confirming letter that read, “I am certainly happy to hear how you are doing. The improvement, from the time when you were the weakest, is quite amazing. I am sure that a lot of your improvement has come from simply not giving up hope and being determined to get better.”

Was I determined? Yes, very much so. Did I hope to walk? Not really. I didn’t believe that was possible for me to walk again.

The dictionary defines hope in three forms: confidence, chance, and desire. Confidence includes optimism, courage, and faith. This is the belief we can actually achieve our goals. I demonstrated this in each challenge I attempted to overcome. Chance means likelihood, possibility, and potential. This does not guarantee success it merely puts the carrot in front of us. It gives us a goal. Desire, on the other hand, is what we want, wish for, and strive for. As mature adults we have learned we do not always get what we want.

Many people hope for recovery but do not achieve it. I still believe that through acceptance, determination, courage and faith there is hope. In her book, “Courage Doesn’t Always Roar”, Maryanne Radmacher tells us that “Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

So where to you stand? I want to always hope for the best; even if I am sometimes disappointed.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Is Hope Always Good for Us?”

  1. What a beautiful post! If one has no hope, he has nothing–there is always room for hope!

  2. admin says:

    Joy Norenberg says:

    You always have inspirational messages and I love hearing from you. This message makes us stronger.

  3. Carolyn Abramson says:

    Hope is what you cling to when things are so bad they have to get better. Thank your for reminding all of us.

  4. Becky Henry says:

    Thank you Kathi for this very insightful post about hope! I love the distinctions here as they are so important for us all to remember. Hope does not equal expectations. It can get murky for every one of us when the chips are down.

    I deal with this too as my business is called, Hope Network,LLC and part of my mission is bringing HOPE to the families I work with. Sometimes their child has died from an eating disorder or is dangerously ill and they don’t dare hope.

    I’ll gladly share your insights with them so they can find their way to hope that gets them through the struggles.

    Congrats to you on never giving up your hope! It is so wonderful to see you walking and being able to share even more hope with others by example!
    Becky Henry
    Hope Network, LLC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>