How To Have Hope, Part I

there is hope.

Hope- (noun)  A feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfilment

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”Dr. Martin Luther King

 

What do you hope for?  Do you hope for world peace?  Or a better life?

I hope for many things.  I hope for everyone to feel loved and give love away.  I hope to help make our world better.  I hope this is the year The Washington Redskins win the Superbowl.

Hope is this intangible, universal emotion we all either have or wish we had.  Without it, life is bleak and pointless.  When I was feeling suicidal back in college, that’s where I was internally.  Hopeless and without a belief there would be a sunrise or a reprieve from my internal pain.

I see people walking around town with their heads down, looking downtrodden and hopeless.  Maybe they aren’t and I’m jumping to conclusions.  I know there are people who have been hurt by religion or feel ignored by God.  And it breaks my heart. I want to help, I want to just give people a hug and tell them it is going to be okay.  Yet, not tell them to be optimistic.

Hope vs. Optimisim

I once had the impression hope and optimism were the same, but as I live more life, I’ve discovered they are completely different.

Optimism says, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”  But what if life hands you crap?  That is where hope comes in.

It connects us on a much deeper level.  Hope is an awareness of where you are, and where you want to be.  Optimism is conditional; depending on how hard the circumstances are will optimism come into play.  Hope goes beyond circumstances.

I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclorosis.  Basically, it destroyed my kidney cells and I had to go on dialysis and on the kidney transplant list.

I wasn’t filled with optimism while sitting in a dialysis chair with needles in my arms, pumping my blood out of my body, into the dialysis machine to be cleaned, and then back into me.  Optimism just wasn’t enough.  I had to have hope.

How To Have Hope

I believe we can give each other hope.  When we go through tragedy or internal pain, I believe hope introduces itself to us.  It usually does so in the form of other people.

People who have gone through what you are going through or are going through it currently.  People who care about you and want to help you.  We don’t go through all the pain and tragedy for no reason.  God sees us hurting, He sees us in pain and connects to us through hope.

It bothers me, it bothers me so much to think of people feeling hopeless and convinced they don’t have a support system or individuals who care about or love them.  Heartache affects all of us at some point.

If you are going through a hard time, there are people you can connect to.  People who have gone through the same thing, or know someone who has.  People who want to and will help you.  You can find them online.   Or you can go to counseling, I did for 2.8 years, out of the 3.6 years I was on dialysis.

This reminds me of a talk I heard by Buddy Marston in the summer of 2007.  I can’t remember what the talk was about, but what I do remember him saying has stuck with me and helped me have hope.  It’s become one of my personal mantras:

 

“God will save the day”- Buddy Marston

God wasn’t going to step out of Heaven and hand me a new kidney.  But He gave me hope in the form of people.  We give each other hope with our stories, sharing the good and bad and how we deal with this adventure called life.  We can be the world for other people.  We can be a light for someone else.  Because if you really think about it, at some point in your life someone was a light for you and gave you hope.

If you are going through a hard time and feel alone, know this:  You Are Not Alone.  Email, tweet, facebook or google someone to talk to.  You can email me, lane@jermainelane.com.  I’ll listen.

You can have hope.  For real.

 

[This is Part 4 of a Seven Part Limited Series called “Weaponized Emotions.”] [photo by Demi-Brooke]

4 Comments

  • Amen! Great post, Jermaine! A friend of mine said something the other day that sticks with me as well on this point, “God never wastes suffering.” I can look back on ‘dark’ periods of my life when I felt hopeless and couldn’t see where it was all headed. And then I realize that I DID make it though and better than that, I have had people cross my path who needed hope in that same area. I think hope is like blood. It is designed to flow in and out… it must keep moving to stay alive.

  • “I think hope is like blood. It is designed to flow in and out…it must keep moving to stay alive.”

    That is such a true and well stated point. Hope is a gift we are compelled to share with one another. Awesome comment Robin, thanks for sharing it!

  • Always love your insight, Jermaine! Also love Robin’s comment above: “And then I realize that I DID make it though and better than that, I have had people cross my path who needed hope in that same area.”
    I think that is so true: it’s this cycle of moving in and out of hardships and joys, darkness and light…and can be a beautiful thing when we are able to empathize with/encourage others b/c of those dark times (2cor1:3-4 comes to mind). It’s never wasted. And think about all the people out there who can relate to your story, Jermaine, and find hope in your words! So glad you have this blog — praying people find it and find hope in your experiences/insights.

  • Hey Katie,

    I hear you, our dark times are never wasted. I like this quote from Martha Beck, “Someday, you will see that this was being done for you, not to you.” And from that, we can help someone else as well.

    Thanks for the kind words and I hope your art/music show was fantastic 🙂

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