On hope

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If you watch the news on any given day, there is a lot to be discouraged about.

Just this morning, I read about:

  • The gut-wrenching murder of a 10-year old girl at the abusive hands of her own family
  • Political paralysis in making a decision on what to do about our country’s debt
  • Grim economic predictions for my state, and the world at large

It made me want to slump on the floor in a fetal position.

But I didn’t. And that is because I have hope.

  • I have hope that things will get better.
  • I have hope that we can help end suffering.
  • I have hope that we can learn to work together.

This is not naive, wishful thinking — it is based on seeing evidence over and over again that entrenched, painful, impossibly complicated lives have been turned around.

Like the Delancy Street Foundation, who for close to 40 years has been working with hard-core substance abusers, ex-convicts, and homeless people who have hit rock bottom and have chosen to turn their life around.

Like Jany Deng from the Arizona Lost Boys Center, who recounts constructing a new life after living unbearable hardship as a small boy.

Like Nancy Duarte, who decided to not let her difficult childhood stop her from becoming a business leader and passionate advocate for changing the world through great presentations.

Hope does not deny the existence of agony, or evil or despair.

It does not replace action.

It is saying to yourself in a moment of frustration or pain or suffering:

  • This will get better.
  • Someone has gone through this hell before and come out the other side stronger and healthier.
  • There is compassion in the universe.

Hope is a choice.

As I was writing this post, I had this song in my head, sung by my favorite choir at Glide Memorial Church. Regardless of your religious orientation (I am not affiliated with any one religion, but inspired by all things spiritual), I think you will enjoy it. You can even listen with the sound off and marvel at the beauty of the smile on Vincent Mason’s face as he sings the song. 🙂

Watch on YouTube here.

What inspires hope in you?

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14 Responses to “On hope”

  1. There’s always hope for one who looks for it.

    Try it: select someone from around you, and ask that person what have been going on well these last days. Ask that person what she did that energized her. Ask her what she would like to do more of.

    You can also read http://www.axiomnews.ca/

  2. Gwyn Michael says:

    Beautiful Pam! I keep this poem in the wall in my studio. It is one of my favorites and have paired it with a beautiful bird to remind me.

    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 chilliest land
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.

    Emily Dickinson

  3. Since Feb. 2006, I’ve lived with a life-threatening kidney disease. I was on Hemodialysis (3 days a week, 4 hours a session) for 15 months, then Peritoneal dialysis (30 min. sessions, every 4 hours every day) for 2 years. Through all of the drama of being in/out of the hospital, constant pain and sickness, hope was all I had. I decided when I first was diagnosed I would choose to have hope no matter what.

    It wasn’t easy, but making that decision and managing that decision as I became sicker and sicker kept me mentally centered and not dwelling on the negative. We choose.

    • @ Jermaine, I’ll remember your story and ability to hope whenever I face obstacles. If you can maintain hope in the face of your experience, surely I can, too. Thank you.

  4. We have to choose what sources of info we will let into our lives. I’m reading Pam’s blog and FB page to help offset the negative news that bombards us from other sources. Did you know the network news is programmed to be 80% negative? Any more or less and viewership would decline. I’ve boycotted the nightly news and find that my perception of reality is a little more positive.

  5. […] fits your skills and talents. This means that you need to understand what you are good at, or as Pam Slim states, “what you are genetically engineered to […]

  6. David says:

    Great post! Everything starts with hope!

  7. Srinivas Rao says:

    Thanks Pam. I’ve been going through a somewhat challenging few weeks lately and this is a good reminder that it will in fact get better. Right now it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but when I compare my challenges to that of somebody who has a serious substance abuse problem, they seem less important and miniscule. Somehow every time things have become really bad in my life, I come out much better for having gone through it.

  8. fas says:

    WE cant just live on hope, we need to do something about this!

  9. Jen says:

    What inspires hope in me? Looking for kind people – and finding them everywhere.

  10. Yes, there is hope! I live in Paris where people can be quite… hopeless (we’ll use that word). It’s hard to remain positive sometimes, which is why I read blogs like yours!

  11. Richard says:

    I used to get worked up about issues like you mentioned. Then I went into business for myself and don’t have time to worry about it!

  12. NEENZ says:

    Hope is a choice! I shall share this good news across my community! 🙂

  13. Laura Click says:

    Love this, Pam. You’re right that it can be tough to keep your chin up sometimes. But, things ALWAYS turn around. If you keep focused on moving forward, not backwards, there will always be a way.

    Thanks for sharing this video too. The song is great, but man, the lead singer’s smile is downright infectious! I started smiling right away when I saw it. 🙂