Do you know the feeling when you are dealing with something that you have not spoken about to anyone else and then you tune into a discussion on exactly that topic on the radio; or you stumble upon a documentary on TV while zapping through the channels; or you get given a book which deals with this topic, or even better still a friend asks you for your advice on that particular issue…
Well, it’s definitely been happening to me, and again so recently which is why I need to share a few deep thoughts which just happen to be (oh so very coincidentally) a perfect context for a photograph I took recently :
I took this photograph because I like the object and what it stands for. When I took the photograph I wasn’t sure, yet what I wanted to do with it.
The other day I came across this video which is circulating on facebook – please take the time to view it, trust me: it is worth investing 8,25 minutes of your time!
A quote close to my heart (unfortunately I don’t know where it came from but I find it very powerful):
Never deprive someone of hope – it might be all they have
I am reminded of many a situation I have found myself in over the last two years (through my involvement in various projects) and people I have met who are a lot less fortunate than I am. I meet them and learn of their circumstances and I ask myself, again and again, how do they do it? How do they manage to survive day by day – with a smile on their face!? You know how they do it? It’s because they have hope. They trust, believe and hope that one day things will be different. That their prayers will get answered and their dreams become reality. And when it actually happens, it is their hope they have to thank because it is hope that keeps us going. Even if we don’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Wikipedia on Hope: “… the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.”…”the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” or the act of “looking forward to with desire and reasonable confidence” or “feeling that something desired may happen”.
In Scripture and biblical usage, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” indicates certainty. It means “a strong and confident expectation.”
This sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, I don’t know about you but I am definitely holding on to this hope concept…
Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for — the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both (http://bible.org/article/hope).
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies! (Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption)
One of my favourite movies of all times is: The Pursuit of Happyness, and although it’s Hollywood, it is based on a true story and all of you who have seen this movie must have realised that, if it hadn’t been for Hope, there is no way Chris Gardner would have managed to draw on his resources the way he did to achieve what he achieved. If you have no idea what I am talking about: go and rent the movie!
I have to also mention some of my favourite books, which are up there on my list because they are about people who display an enormous amount of perseverance and are perfect examples of what impact hope can have on your life and how they manage to go further in life – and, needless to say, I find that hugely inspiring:
Q&A by Vikas Swarup (the book that was turned into the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” which I never watched because the actual book is so close to my heart). It’s the story about a boy who lands up in prison for winning a quiz show. The producers of the show believe he has cheated as they struggle to accept that a boy like him could possibly know the answers to the questions he is asked.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is a novel-cum-autobiography about a man who escapes from prison in Australia and ends up starting a new life from nothing, in the slums of India… looks like I like stories about India!
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is also a true life story about an American girl who has to grow up in poverty in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father… and grew up to tell the tale! I was given this book by the owner of a Bed & Breakfast not too long ago. She was so adamant that I had to read this book, she just gave me her copy, scribbled her postal address on the front page, and told me to post it back to her once I had read it. At first I was a bit hesitant in actually taking the book but now that I have read it I am unbelievably grateful that I did. Thank you Wendy!
All those books have one thing in common: you guessed it: hope! In Q&A Ram Mohammad Thomas would have never even made it onto the quiz show without hope, as his entire life is one big ball of hope; Shantaram could have never survived the adversities he was faced with while building his new identity if he didn’t have hope and Jeannette in The Glass Castle had nothing but hope to cling to during her years and years of fighting for a brighter future for her and her siblings. Despite all the odds stacked against them, they all make it and manage to build bright and promising futures for themselves…
So, I guess my message to you, today, goes something like this:
No matter who says what – at the end of the day it is important that we have hope and no matter how trying times might be, no matter how far from where we are right now our dreams might lie, may we never give up on it for if we give up on hope we give up on life.