I have a rather random story to tell showing how deeper understanding can come about when and how you don’t expect it. It was about 7 years ago that I was in a Sainsbury’s car park. I’d spent an hour talking (crying) to a friend before I did my shop as I was in a desperate place, without hope. But as I was returning to my car a realization occurred. The random bit, was that the realization came whilst I was observing a Vauxhall Cavalier (that iconic vehicle of the 90’s!) and a strong sense that ‘hope existed’ descended upon me. I had a sure sense of hope’s existence. Internally I understood that although I was very low, there were other people in the world who were not, some people had hope. If others could hope, then that meant that hope existed, which meant it might also be available for me. This is the core message for you – hope does exist.
"There is hope", has become an internal slogan for me over recent years. When I feel low, due to circumstance, hormones or the inexplicable, I draw on this truth. I also look for signs of hope in the everyday to remind me of the existence of hope. This might be the smile of a stranger reminding me that there is goodness in the world, or it might be the sun breaking through after a downpour reminding me that my own challenges will pass or it may be pausing on the idea ‘…but God’, as in there is a reality greater than my subjective experience. There are symbols, signs and stories that there is hope in this world.
The thing about hope is that it is something that is not a thing, or at least not yet a thing. Hope is for something not yet. Whilst our hope might be in the escape of a holiday or the affirmation of a job promotion or for an answered prayer to a trial, we don’t actually have anything concrete when we have hope. Or do we? I have found that hope is not about absence but that it does have a reality, a presence. I will capitalise this as I call it a Real Presence. If you can allow yourself to hope beyond pandemic restrictions lifting, beyond the idea of a foreign holiday, and reach out to an ultimate hope, hope that is the summation of all hopes, I believe you too will experience not an absence but a Real Presence.