There seems to me to be so many misconceptions around the concept of hope and how it exists within each of is that it is only at this stage of my life that I have had the time and ability to truly consider and address them.
The common belief that hope springs eternal is no longer one I adhere to. Not even close. It is one of the most
I personally believe that hope is like any other human emotion in that it ebbs and flows inside us like the tides on the beach. The time between losing faith and then feeling its return again is individual and can be highly variable.
Human beings were never meant to survive entirely on their own reserves of hope, faith, love and all the other resources needed to sustain life, that’s why we have relationships, friendships, interactions and companionship, they act as a lifeline when our own reserves are gone.
I believe that the function of hope is to sustain us during times when we really don’t know what is going to happen and what we will have to deal with. It’s our inner most desires trying to drag us through the constant day to day grind and anchoring us in times of hardships. I truly don’t know what will become of my life and my body as the years progress but I hope there will be a use and purpose for me. I hope. I must surrender to the unknown while holding on to something…
Many years ago, after my first heartbreak, I was convinced that I would never love again, furthermore, I became increasingly convinced that I could never love again. I felt depleted and spent and I remained that way for many years. Alive but in some ways empty. Until the day that I started to slowly but surely develop feelings for someone new, only this time my feelings were tempered with the experiences of past wounds, but nevertheless it grew to become love. However despite the many years since I had felt that depth of love it had not stopped me from feeling it once again, despite it being somehow changed and perhaps even deeper. Love still arrived despite my lack of hope.
Over the past decade there have been many people who have remarked to me that they have marveled at my strength to survive amid difficult circumstances and during some of my hardest struggles, but the honest truth is that I have never seen strength in what I have done or what I have faced, in fact if I was completely honest I don’t see strength at all in myself. I simply did what I could do and what I knew how to do. I am completely and utterly human in all aspects of my personality.
There are many more times over the past decade that I have lost all hope in myself and my life, but I have still lived on despite of this. When I have been at my most empty I simply floated upon my husband’s reserves and it is his hope that has had to feed us both. It is also worth noting that love, hope and belief are things that undergo great transition and transformation over a lifetime and are very much dependent on our experiences to forge it and shape it.
To try to clarify this I offer the example of someone about to go to university/ college. At the beginning of such an endeavor their hope might be to graduate with honors and then to find a worthy vocation. At the end of many years their hope may become to simply graduate and finish their studies and take whatever position they can find. The ability to accept either outcome, or an alternative, is the stuff of survival but is independent of what they might be hoping for. In my own case my illness was to ultimately prevent me completing my final year of study and also take away any career aspirations I once had. Wasted years and effort? Is it more important than where I am now and what I have today? Is there really an ultimate answer?
Hope may not be eternal but it can be renewed.
People may think that my partner and I just have this magical relationship that has never faltered and has endured all things but that wasn’t always the case at all. As I sit here today I can honestly say that both of us have doubted and questioned whether we could survive as a couple.
Many of our close friends and family had urged us to separate for various reasons over the years, both of us have contemplated whether we could go on in marriage. Yet here we are. Was it hope? In most break ups it always seems like one person has lost hope more than the other, which what can make them all the more painful.
Hope ebbs and flows and it can change without knowing when and how, but that is also the fundamental nature of life and the human condition which few can truly appreciate.
Ironically, as a younger person I had many hopes but today my hopes are much fewer but deeper. I hope that writing these pieces that some people will feel a connection. I hope some people will see things they may not have seen before. I hope that some people might understand a new different way of living. This is amongst some of the few hopes I cling to today, along with the constant hope that tomorrow I will be able to do a little more or rest a little easier than today.