Hopelessness is a lie; the place where there is no hope doesn’t exist.
It is a bold statement to make and you could be in a situation where you believe you do not have a way out, and you could tell me that you are indeed hopeless. It is tricky writing to a general audience, because everybody’s story is different, but it does not matter where you come from, everyone that is hopeless is in the same place – a place with seemingly no way out. The poor could say that ‘you are not in my shoes’, but so can the rich person suffering from a terminal illness. You could argue that someone that hasn’t been abused like you were wouldn’t understand, but that person could be bullied at school or simply have inherited a depressive disorder; and experience the same hopelessness.
If we created our own hope, we would be able to lose it, but we can’t. We create our own replicas of hope, most of which are temporary. When fame, money, sex, health or success is achieved and it failed to bring us what we thought it would, we experience feelings of hopelessness, because hope turned out to look differently than we thought it would. Hope (and hopelessness) results from the culminating effects of our genes, physiological processes, temperament, character, mood, support structures, value systems, faith and all the other facets of being human and therefore addressing only a part of this probably won’t be sufficient to regain hope. This is, for example, why the psychiatric fraternity base their approach to clinical situations on the bio-psycho-social and spiritual model of disease.
I write with respect towards your experience of suffering, because it is a personal experience. This is about the objective truth, separated from your experience, that we lose sight of and we need others to remind us of this. So, the reality is that we all had different paths and life happened – often with dire consequences and we all ended up in the same final pathway of hopelessness. Some missed the ways out on their way here and others took the short detour to riches and connected to this path only later. Maybe some needed to pass through to find the real, deep-seated longings of their hearts. What now?
Well, if we were to climb up to heaven or lie down in the grave, travel as far east or fly west as we could, still we would find no place where the presence of God is absent. This is according to David’s psalm probably written after fleeing for his life from the King or being caught for adultery and murder, or the death of one of his newborn children. If this is true, then there can not be a place where there is no hope. If God is, there is hope. In fact, I believe it is because of hope that we are here and still living and if we are alive, then there is work prepared for our hands – before we were even here. You would have to shut your eyes not to see the sunset, or close your nose not to smell the flowers or close your mouth not to taste the food. If you have not lost hope due to suffering, you would probably have to choose to be blind not to see. If it is so that God is, then this breath you breathed was teeming with hope. Then your cells busy replicating, making way for the new at this moment becomes a moment full of hope. Then the sparrow eating from the ground outside is a sign of hope.
I will struggle to show this and bring hope to someone who has chronic pain, but someone who walked that path of chronic pain may be able to. The poor will be better helped by someone who carved a way out of his own poverty. And once he has succeeded in helping him out of poverty he might find a valuable truth – that one of the greatest expressions of hope is you sharing yours.