what is hope? from whence comes this word, this feeling? is it truly “hopeful” or does it sink us deeper into depression when that for which we “hope” doesn’t come to pass? and if we talk about what it is we’re hoping for (sometimes ad nauseam), does it jinx us; put a wrench in the fulfillment of said hope? or is that just me?

maybe the hope of something should be kept a well-guarded secret. but if that hope involves another person, group of people, etc, if we keep what we wish for secret, how will said person(s) know how to respond? or even that they’re supposed to respond? bah. it’s enough to make you tired.

according to dictionary.com, hope is defined as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.”

synonyms of “hope” include: faith, expectation, dream, desire, goal, prospect, promise, anticipate, acceptance, assurance. the list is (probably literally) a mile long, and consists of both nouns and verbs.

hope has been around for a long time, and is of unknown origin. it occurs hundreds of times in the Bible. some of my favorite verses include:

  • Romans 8:25 “but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (still trying to wrap my head around that one);
  • Proverbs 13:12 “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
  • Proverbs 23:18 “surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”
  • Hebrews 11:1 “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

many businesses, especially churches, utilize “hope” as part of their name: hope college, hope cleaners, house of hope, new hope baptist church. and let’s not forget about people who bear either the first or surname of “hope.”

then there are “hope quotes.” here are a few:

  • “to love is to risk not being loved in return. to hope is to risk pain. to try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”
  • “love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt before.”
  • hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.”
  • “learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

there’s even a short page on hope at wikipedia. okay… maybe i’m analyzing this just a little too much…

i think you get the point. it appears that hope is not just a word, it’s part of our essence, one of the things that makes us human. so nope, sorry. don’t think it’s possible to live without hope and still retain our humanity.

even when unrequited hope slams into you with an unyielding fist, making you stagger, breathless with anguish, a kernel remains. as you recover from that soul-wrenching, hope quietly grows. and one day when you least expect it, it’ll peer up at you, like the first flower of spring; it will rise anew, strong and confident, ready to once more reach for that expectation, hoping that this time, it will see fulfillment.


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