“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams
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 name plates, key chains or other such novelty items. It was an uncommon name that one didn’t hear often and I routinely found myself having to repeat, “yes, my name is Hope…yes, like the word hope.” I knew the story behind my name. I was named after my two Grandmothers, Hope and Jean Elizabeth, hence Hope Elizabeth. Yet it was a source of frustration to me. Why couldn’t I have just been given a common 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? 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 to carry on with life.
Once I hit my 20’s, I fully embraced my name and came to a full awareness of who I was and how much my name was a part of me and me a part of my name. 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 just naive or oblivious but I always felt buoyant. As if hope made my personal character that much more confident!
I remember taking Literature in college and I hit upon an Emily Dickenson 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
Fast forward to my late forties, and I have spent my lifetime studying the concept of hope. Everything from Bible passages, scholarly articles, poems, self improvement literature, journalistic pieces, sports analysis, philosophy, parenting magazines – you name it! What I have found…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 need hope for survival. Because without it, life is hugely altered. Believe it or not, hope is mentioned 129 times in the Bible!
Now as I begin the journey to my fifties, hope is my continued expectation. 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 and can find it 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,