“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams
Hello gorgeous soul!
This particular blog is a bit near and dear to my heart, as it is about a name…and not just any name – but my name.
When I was a young girl, I was frustrated with my name Hope because I couldn’t ever find it pre-printed on any little bicycle name plates, key chains or other such novelty items.
It was an uncommon name through the 70’s and 80’s and I routinely found myself having to politely repeat, “yes, my name is Hope…yes, like the word hope…yes, H.O.P.E.”
I knew the story behind my name. I was named after my two Grandmothers, Hope and Jean Elizabeth, hence Hope Elizabeth…and while I loved how I got my name, and those women, I wasn’t particularly fond of my first name.
“Why couldn’t I have been given a more common first name?” I used to wonder.
Then somewhere in my teen years frustration began to turn to fascination because I heard my name often mentioned when I sat in the pews listening to Sunday’s service.
I began to wonder more about the true meaning of hope?
I mean, to me it was simply my name – but believe it or not, I had never given the word “HOPE” much thought.
So – I began paying more attention to the actual philosophical and spiritual nature of hope, and the impact of it on our human spirit.
This was no longer about just a name.
It seemed to me “hope” was a pretty important concept because it got talked about a lot and there appeared to be a direct correlation between hope and the human spirit. As if the MORE hope a person had, the more able minded and resilient a person was to see themselves through dark and trying times.
Once I hit my 20’s, I fully embraced my name and came to an awareness of who I was and how much my name was a part of me and me a part of my name.
Oddly enough, I never felt particularly lost or unsure as situations unfolded, no matter how chaotic or painful. I just embraced each walk as they came. Even when I was in complete unknown territory. Maybe I was naive but I always felt buoyant and bold. As if me being “Hope” gave me hope and made my personal character that much more confident!
I was HOPE and HOPE was ME!
I remember taking Literature in my first year of college and we were asked to read an Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope Is A Thing With Feathers” and the poem spoke to me on so many levels.
How could it not?
It likened hope to a bird in our soul that sings for us all endlessly yet never asks for anything in return.
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm, That could abash the little bird, That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.”
– Emily Dickenson
Time passed on, and life unfolded – much like life does…and the hope in my heart, and the hope that carried my character continued to blossom.
Then there came a time in my late thirties when my soul and hope nearly shattered and I was certain I would never make it back from the dark abyss my whole being had sunk to.
I had known grief before through death and divorce but nothing in all of life prepared me for losing my father so unexpectedly and watching a man larger then life, be taken from me and our family so quickly and unmercifully, it simply demolished me.
It was more then any fiber of my being could process and yet, even in the midst of that brokenness, there were two phrases I clung to and repeated to myself as often as I needed.
“At spes Infracta” – translation, “my hope goes unbroken“
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” – Hebrew 6:19
Those two hopeful passages became my personal mantras and motto’s that I clung to and literally kept me putting one foot in front of the other as I slowly journeyed my way back to life from that hellish place of darkness and loneliness.
Fast forward to fifty…
…and I have now spent my lifetime studying the concept of hope.
Everything from Bible passages, religious scriptures, scholarly articles, poems, self improvement, literature, journals, sports analysis, psychology, philosophy, parenting magazines – you name it!
Hope can be found in every religion, psychology, mythology, healthy care, culture, and literature. There are even strong empirical findings in relation to hope and all forms of physical, emotional and mental health recovery.
I have learned, as have most scholars…hope is a common theme in all we do, is at nearly every juncture and is a core component to our human existence!
Turns out, we humans actually need hope for survival because without it, life is hugely altered.
Psychologist Charles Snyder has studied hope immensely and even linked hope to the existence of goal setting.
Believe it or not, hope is mentioned 129 times in the Bible!
Now as I begin the journey in my fifties, hope has become so much a part of who I am and is a continued expectation that I apply to all of life.
I have no doubt, I will have many reasons to continue to turn to my hope as life will most assuredly dish out tests and trials that will cause me to pause and regroup.
Yet while I never did find that bicycle name plate with “HOPE” printed on it, I have something so much better. I have hope etched in my soul, where I have a deep reservoir to pull my strength from and can find in all of humanity everyday!
So “yes, my name is Hope…yes, like the word hope.”
”And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.” – Job 11:18
As always…Go in love,