Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…â€
â€• Alfred Tennyson
In the newly released film, Catching Fire, Donald Sutherlandâ€™s character, President Snow, hisses all hope must be dashed. He contends the only way to keep the Districts slavishly supplying the Capitol is to keep the people in ignorance and fear.
It turns out hope opens the door to change and betterment. Hope is the distant light when darkness seems unending. Hope is often something to reach for, to believe in, and to hang on to. Hope is a small word with big implications.
I admit the action scenes in Catching Fire kept me from fully pondering the wisdom of that insight until the following day. It was while attending church–and nudging my husband to wake up from his fifth nap during the sermon–that I heard the minister mentioning the power of hope too. He quoted Emily Dickensonâ€”
â€œHope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.â€
Beautiful. Hope is a word I use all the time without fully grasping the scope of its meaning. â€œI hope it doesnâ€™t snow today,â€ or, â€œI hope you are doing well!â€ Hope is a word that expresses good wishes, in a way, but waffles on the results. Itâ€™s sort of like saying; â€œI want that for you, but who knows if it will happen? Maybe it will, maybe it wonâ€™t, but we can always hope.â€
And yet, as expressed in President Snowâ€™s fear that hope would cause the people to stage a rebellion, there is a belief system within hope that is transformative. It got me thinking about the times that Iâ€™ve been troubled or down. Have I ever given up hope? No, never. My thinking is always, â€œThis too shall pass, and maybe I was supposed to learn an important lesson from my pain or disappointment.â€
There is the expression, â€œAll hope is lost.â€ Think about that for a moment. What would it mean to the heart and soul if indeed all hope were lost? In another recent film release, Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northrup tells his story of being a respected free man and then kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Mr. Northrupâ€™s memoir is a gut-wrenching reminder of the power of hope. The atrocities he faced, the whiplashes he bore, and the unlikely possibility that he would ever see his wife and children again should have obliterated hope. It did not. He bent, but did not break.
Itâ€™s funny how a word pops up and catches your attention, even though it has been as common as sand on a beach. Please share with me a story of enduring hopeâ€¦one of your own, or perhaps that of a friend or loved one. Letâ€™s revel, and inspire hope, together.