I warm my tired hands on the sides of the mug, and inhale the deep coffee aroma hugging my face. I take a sip, stare at my blank computer screen in the morning light, and hope today brings success. I giggle as I remember last night’s dreams. My head shakes back and forth; I don’t believe my dreams to be reality. Yet… I hope today brings something better than my silly dreams.
Hope. Some days it feels like hope is all we have left. It’s a word we take for granted. “Hope you have a good day!” the cashier says. “Hope you feel better,” we tell a sick friend. We honestly hope these things come to pass. Who wouldn’t want a good day or a loved one to feel better? (Assuming you don’t exist in a mystery novel where you hope this loved one actually dies in order for them to leave you a great inheritance. That’s a different kind of hope. But I digress…)
Hope springs when we dream big. Bigger than our circumstances. We hope our children grow up to be better than us, our marriage lasts, and the sun breaks through the storm clouds.
When I searched for quotes about hope, I found a surprising fact. There are over a dozen hopeful quotes from a man I didn’t expect: Christopher Reeve.
If you’re not familiar with this name, let me give you a brief bio: Christopher Reeve was an actor who played Superman/Clark Kent in the first blockbuster Superman movie in 1978. He’d continue to play this role in proceeding movies and star in other famous films such as “Somewhere In Time.” Sadly, Reeve fell off his horse in 1995 during a race and became paralyzed from the neck down. He would no longer be able to walk, move his hands, hold his children, or do anything by himself. But, it’s said that he never lost hope.
Despite being paralyzed, he went on to be a better husband and father than he was before. He continued to act, and he started a foundation with his wife to help other paralyzed people. He’s quoted to say although he doesn’t believe in the Lord, he tries to live as if God is real. He HOPES God exists, though he was taught otherwise. Just like he hoped to regain feeling in his limbs again.
The Bible says “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” I.e. when we hope for something that gets postponed/delayed/canceled, it sickens us worse than if we never hoped at all. Hope is a risk. This is probably why so many of us choose to wallow in our current life. We push that hope aside, laugh, and say “yeah, maybe one day.” We build up walls around ourselves, protecting us from our hopes crashing. We hoped we’d get that amazing job we applied for, get rejected and try again. The next job offers a lower pay, we settle for it but still get rejection. After the hundredth rejection we stop trying. We hope this relationship will work, but when it doesn’t we try one more time. When that fails, we resign to live alone. We hoped the lockdowns would end in April, then June, then November, then after the vaccine, then – “yeah, I’m done hoping. This is life now.”
We choose to believe giving up is what we’re supposed to do. We tell ourselves that we’re not actually giving up; if we were meant to do the thing we’d hoped for, we would have succeeded long ago. “Sometimes God closes a door.” “God closed that door and will open a window.” Neither statement is biblical, BTW. When God leads you to hope for something, He NEVER goes back on His word. His promises are “Yes and Amen!”
When our hearts are sick, they don’t need to stay that way. The scripture I half-quoted earlier is from Proverbs 13:12, and it finishes by saying “but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”
For every story of failure, there’s a story of triumph. An author getting a contract on the one hundred and first try. A third marriage lasting twenty years.
Even though Christopher Reeve died at the young age of 52, at the time of his death he regained partial movement in his fingers and toes. He even said he could feel a pin prick anywhere on his body as well as differentiate hot and cold temperatures. I hope he found God in the end too.
Hope supersedes our circumstances. It doesn’t listen to our lack, but dreams about a bright future. It gives us a vision of our possible reality. Hope can make any of us feel like superman.
When I breathed out my hopes for the day this morning, I said it as a prayer, and acted on it. I hope for a good day, then I have a good day. Regardless of my circumstances. It’s not living in denial or a fantasy world; it’s living a life of faithful hope.
I have been given a rejection or advice brimming with “deferred hope” no less than thirty times over the last 2 months concerning my latest book. Twenty-three email rejections from literary agents, well-meaning fellow writers saying time travel books don’t sell anymore, and a few depressed people telling me I should give up like they have. (Honestly, I’m not making that last one up and I’m saddened for those individuals.)
I also have many friends and acquaintances giving encouragement, hugs (yes, I still relish hugs when given!), and uplifting advice. Many many thanks to you all!
I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. Situations I don’t care to burden the rest of the world with. But I say this to assure you I’m not someone living a stress-free, prosperous, healthy, joyful, no-problems life. And yet…that’s also the exact life I’m living. Through God. Through faith. And through hope.
I could wake up full of pain, alone, no job, and no end to my poverty in sight… nevertheless, I hope. We don’t know which job application will succeed. Which day will bring breakthroughs. When this lockdown will FINALLY cease. And I don’t know when my books will finally be published. But we keep trying. Keep hoping. Keep living.