Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Thing About Hope

Mark: "What do you want to do?"
Me: "Let's stare into each other's eyes and talk about our hopes and dreams."

I don't know how or when this ridiculous conversation started, but it was before we were married and it takes place semi regularly. We like to talk about our hopes and dreams. And those big brown eyes are awful dreamy. (-:

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately. We've been talking about it too - Mark and I take walks regularly, and we talk about all kinds of things, including our hopes and dreams. Sometimes we talk about happy things, and somethings things that aren't as happy. Things other people would likely think are weird - like if hope is really a good thing or not. We always hear people talk about it, and I've started realizing that I have quite a love/hate relationship with hope. All you have to do is look at a few quotes about hope to see the extremes through which it is viewed:

Some people love hope:
Once you choose hope, anything's possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

The miserable have no other medicine but only hope. ~William Shakespeare
Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.  ~Author Unknown

Whereas some people don't:

In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

There is nothing so well known as that we should not expect something for nothing - but we all do and call it Hope.  ~Edgar Howe

Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic.  ~Norman Cousins

And then we all know those sayings - like about how "hope is not a strategy", and how we should "never deprive someone of hope because it may be all they have."


I've always considered myself a hopeful person. I've "hoped for the best", and when things haven't been the best, I've hoped they would change. I've felt that sometimes hope really is all a person may have. And that when things are a real bummer, there's always hope, right?

But hope has been on my mind lately, because sometimes, hope hurts. I'm starting to understand what Nietzsche said when he said it prolongs torment and is the worst of all evils. It seems like hope doesn't allow for closure in a terrible situation. I mean, really, how long should a person hold onto hope before letting go and moving on? Sometimes hope really makes my heart ache. Wouldn't it be easier to just give up hope? So what about when hope starts to seem unrealistic and hurts more than it helps?

But isn't hope itself unrealistic by nature? It's thinking about something completely turning around in a direction we want. And generally, it's something that's out of our control as well. It's like this longing, deep within us, that we choose to keep alive.

It seems like sometimes if it weren't for blasted hope we could just move on. We could "get over it". We could have more realistic expectations. We could heal.

But can we have it all? Healing, realistic expectations, and hope? I mean who wants to be the person that gives us hope? And isn't there always hope through Jesus? And isn't hope like faith? That's what makes it tough for me. Even in the most "hopeless" situations, while hope is definitely not a strategy, it can be a comfort.

I guess, like everything, it's a balancing act. We have to balance hope with each situation. Maybe we should never give up hope, yet we should be realistic. We should allow ourselves to heal by accepting our situations as they are, and keep that little flicker of hope alive. 

Because just what if, what we hope for actually happens some day, but we gave up on it long ago? What then? 

So, even though it hurts an awful lot sometimes, I think I will choose hope. A realistic hope. A hope that allows for healing and moving on. 

What about you? Are you conflicted about hope? Has it been good for you, or painful? What do you think?

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14



  1. Would you be willing to share your adoption story on your blog? my husband and i are thinking about adopting an older child and would be interested in hearing about your experiences.


  2. Kathryn, I, too, choose hope. Through many year of struggling with infertility, I never gave up hope that some day, some how we would have children. I tried to convince myself that I really didn't want children, but deep down that hope was always there. It was God never allowing me to give up. Although it was painful at times, hope was always there. Now we have been blessed with 2 amazing and crazy boys . I will always choose hope.

    Great, thought provoking post.


  3. I think hope is definitely a good thing. It makes you stronger and it forces you to step out in faith. I think some people can abuse hope and kind of use it as a crutch from moving on from certain things or accomplishing certain things but overall I think it's good. I just think people can abuse it just like anything else. Always, hope. =)

    I'm with Emmie. I have been somewhat confused about the all of a sudden talk of a daughter and I wasn't sure if you were just letting someone stay with you and you all were jokingly calling her your daughter or what. I would love to hear!

    I loved your post today and I love that you and your hubs talk about your hopes and dreams. Justin and I do that some times but not often enough. Sounds like a great date night for this evening!

  4. We don't really look into each others eyes, but we talk about our hopes and dreams for the future quite a bit.

    I think it's important to keep those things relevant so your relationship and well being doesn't get stale, so to say.

  5. Beautiful post. Very insightful, probably touched a very personal side of us all. I'm so thankful for hope!


We LOVE comments!!! Thanks for leaving one!!

Blog Design by Sweet Simplicity