Isn’t it strange, sad, to see how fear can cost, cause us to give up or even destroy the very blessings we so desperately want? We get so beaten and broken down by life, circumstances and the choices we make that we sometimes feel as if we’ve been fighting the Hundred Year War all by ourselves.
And it seems like every time we are about to give up, Hope glimmers over the horizon. We pull together our ragged emotions and run, summoning all the joy and strength we can muster, only to crash full speed into an enemy, in any shape or form – many would say “fate”.
He stands, laughing, mocking our puny efforts, hurling words of defeat and failure (and many others) until we could no more be as thoroughly pulverized than if a sledgehammer had been used. We manage to crawl away and lick our wounds, and then the cycle renews: war, hope, mockery and pain. Each time, we become weaker, healing less, moving slower toward anything that looks like Hope.
Hope is expensive. The price it demands is nothing less than all you have, seemingly with little in return. So it is with little surprise that it seems surreal when Hope does come and stand before us.
There we are, dying from wounds unseen to the naked eye, lifeblood pouring from our souls, our breathing labored and raspy as it rattles through our spirit. We look upon this thing shimmering like a mirage and quite often, we lay our heads down in a pool of dying dreams and tell this thing, this “Hope” to go away.
Little in this world can hurt like hope unrealized.
Sometimes, though, just sometimes, a few of us reach down into the hidden depths of ourselves, into the very essence of who we are, our hopes, dreams, regrets, past, present – we take that fragile part of us and do the unthinkable, because at last, whether we are conscious of it or not, we understand.
We summon every drop of love, hate, pain, joy, shame, regret, sorrow, want, desire, rage, anger, bitterness, frustration, fear-and with a determination bordering on mania and a cry that echoes throughout the heavens, we rend ourselves asunder, hurling ourselves at Hope’s feet, naked and bloody, unprotected and raw, all our shells, masks and expectations lying, like so much discarded skin, in a rotting heap behind us.
And there, barely a recognizable, roiling, writhing mass, we cling to Hope with a tenacity born of the need to believe in something bigger than ourselves; the belief that, even to those who feel most lowly, Good will and must come, that they matter, even in the grand scheme of things. And from this need, Faith is born.
And of course, that is only the beginning…
***Edit*** I hope no one thinks that by this I’m saying hope is useless or meaningless. Hope is often the only thing that keeps us going. When I wrote this, my sister was in a place where she was giving up. I’ve been there. Sometimes hope seems too difficult to cling to; we can’t see the help coming to us and we want to give up, give in, stop believing.
I truly believe that if you’re able to cling to hope, in the face of seemingly absolute despair, that’s where faith is born. Some people say, “I hope….” and then forget about it. Real hope is expensive. It requires effort. Those people in Japan who may be clinging to something to keep from being swept away aren’t just casually clinging and hoping. They’re doing it with all their might. Their muscles may be cramping, their hands bloody, and they may not hear or see anyone around at all. But they hope with all their might that someone is on the way.
Does that make better sense?