Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Bright Light of Hope

Hope sounds a lot like home. Perhaps that is because when we think of hope, we think of peace and safety, and these are the attributes that make a house a home. We think of our loved ones, how much they mean to us, and how we enjoy being with them.

Hope has a similar connotation. It is the essence of looking forward with anticipation to a better world. We often use the word when we want something better to happen in our current circumstance. We feel that we are exerting our faith in a higher power by expressing our desire that things will get better.

Setting aside religion, what role does hope play in our emotional health? Hope is the ability to look above and beyond our current circumstance, realizing that it is only temporary. Things change. They always do. No matter where we find ourselves at the current moment, whether in happiness or misery, that state is not permanent. It will change. The only constant in this world is change.

Once we realize that life changes regularly, we give ourselves permission to see past what is happening in the moment. This flexibility gives our emotions a chance to evolve with the change around us. If we adopt a rigid viewpoint, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, heartache, and even despair.

Despair is the opposite of hope. It sees only the pain and frustration of the moment, and leads to discouragement, disillusionment, and depression. These “d” words leave us feeling at the mercy of the dragons of the deep, deprived of peace and happiness. Hope is the ability to look up, to find something positive in the situation, and to focus on that small morsel of goodness long enough that a better future opens to our point of view.

Whether we are dealing with long-term illness, the pain of separation from our loved ones, or difficulty in our employment, hope gives us the opportunity to set these things aside momentarily, just long enough to taste what it feels like to be home, surrounded by our family and friends, feeling the arms of love embrace us.

Hope, then, is the ability to see a light at the end of the tunnel, to grasp the path that leads to that light, and then, to bask in its warmth once we arrive there. Indeed, hope is the flame that lights our way back home!

©2014 by Denise W. Anderson, all right reserved.

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