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Personal, Words

May 7, 2010

Hope has been on my mind. It came to my attention today that I’ve been looking at it all wrong. A wise man (Jon Foreman)  once said “Hope is defined by the future. Hope is defined by what is not.”  Oh!

But of course that makes sense. Hope is what we want to happen in the future and what we believe can happen. Hope is what makes the afflictions we’re going through bearable. We make it through the present because we have hope of a better future, a better outcome. But I think we’ve skewed our idea of hope. If hope is about the future, why do we lose hope when things get bad? Why is it that the worse things get, the less hope we have? If anything, trials should make room for more hope because the closer we get to rock bottom, the more space we leave open to rise above.

We have hopes and dreams that lie in the path we have not yet taken. I do not believe they are lost when our path takes an unexpected turn. I think that when the going gets tough we can lose sight of it, though, because we are mistaken into believing that our hope lies within our present. We are wrong. Hope is compelling us forward, not holding us where we are. When our hopes are fulfilled, a new hope is formed ahead of us, drawing us deeper into the future.

I have had my fair share of hopes. Big hopes and subtle hopes. I’ve reached some and lost sight of some, but they never lost me. They move forward with me and it’s time I stop looking at my feet as I walk. I’m tripping over my own self doubts and fears. I don’t think I have what it takes to reach the goal ahead so I take smalls steps. Safe steps. Cowardly steps. All too often I end up falling on my face because I keep peeking back at the path I’ve left trailing behind me. Roadblocks that I’ve already overcome, but can’t lose sight of. Always expecting them to be waiting for me again when I get back on my feet. It’s time to look up. It’s time to gain sight of the hope that waits for me up ahead, that compells me to keep moving, keep striving, keep reaching, keep dreaming. Step away from the past, live in the present, and walk confidently and hopefully into the future. Striving first towards the hope that lies in tomorrow, and then the hope waiting in next week, next month, next fall, next year. Never losing sight of the hope that is waiting to be reached in this lifetime. A lifetime that is a speck of dust shaken from the feet of the hope that is found in eternity. A hope that I can never lose sight of and which will always lie in wait for us.

Don’t give up hope, my friends. If life’s got you down, there is just more room above you and hope that wants to take you there. Your hopes are not dashed by your present, so don’t let go.

P.S: Since we’re on the topic, here’s a poem I wrote about hope while driving through Haiti a month ago. It was inspired by a tent city set up on the side of the road with a big sign “Village of Hope” with chainlink fences wrapped in razorwire surrounding it and a locked gate in the front.

We guard our hope in fences
Chainlink fence with razorwire
We build high our self-defenses
Keeping a safe distance from the fire

Show me some hope with an open door
Trade the Keep Out for a welcome mat
Real hope that believes and assures
Yeah, let me come to know that

Faith can move mountains
And love is the greatest of all
But in the center, hope remains
We must tear down its walls

Show me some hope with an open door
Trade the Keep Out for a welcome mat
Real hope that believes and assures
Yeah, let me come to know that.

Take down the fences, take down the fences
Your hope is defenseless, so take down the fences.


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