Where does Hope reside?
I ask myself this question as the earth spins into July. I scan my emotions, easily finding surprise and silliness, amusement and anxiety. My emotions respond to Hope but I do not see her nest among them. I consider my thoughts, the teachings over the years, the truths and messages I have embraced and grown from. My understanding of Hope has been enriched by the wisdom of others, but the experience of Hope that calls out to me and draws me forward is more than a universal understanding. Hope lives within me. Wrapped in the colors of the human story, Hope is designed to respond to me, to my story.
I don’t hear people talking about Hope too much. They hope for something, like a sunny day or a good time. When faced with crisis, hope becomes more urgent, more of a plea. But what are we doing when we “hope?” Are we reverting to childhood “wishes,” when we hoped Santa would bring that certain gift? Are we practicing a creative form of denial, ignoring what is in front of us and attaching ourselves to the outcome we would prefer? What is Hope, exactly?
Emily Dickinson likened Hope to a bird, a force of life and energy. Albert Camus set Hope as a promise that winter will indeed move into spring and summer. I would offer an image of Hope as a warm, inviting room in our hearts, a place we “enter.” Hope, for me, is a strength we can draw from, a sweetness we can rest upon. When I enter Hope in my heart, I move beyond the neediness that runs much of my day. Instead, I walk into a deeper understanding of Spirit. There, I let go and trust.
It takes courage to have Hope, for as Cynthia Bourgeault states,
“(Hope) is entered always and only though surrender; that is the
willingness to let go of everything we are presently clinging to.”
If this is so, no wonder our tendency is to place Hope within the context of Christmas lists and weather predictions. We are being asked for so much more of ourselves when we enter a relationship with Hope. And we receive so much more than we realize, as Bourgault goes on to say,
“And yet when we enter it, it enters us and fills us with its own life.” ☀
Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, in Shawshank Redemption, allowed Hope to enter his heart in the final minutes of the movie. Earlier, he had proclaimed Hope as a dangerous thing. But through faith in his friend Andy, Red surrendered his fear of a better life and chose Hope. I share this 2 minute clip to inspire you, too, to find and walk through the doorway of Hope in your heart. Let the deep vibrations of Hope sustain you as you face life challenges. Discover an image that teaches you and draws you closer. Open your heart to Hope’s healing presence in your own story.
☀ from Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God, Cynthia Bourgault, 2001