I was cruising through the list of notification on the GoodReads web site when one caught my eye. “Hope is your friend.”
Of course, it was a notification that someone named Hope and I had made a social media connection, meaning I suppose that I’d see the books she was reading and rating and she could do the same with me. But it resounded at a much deeper level.
Hope is my friend. It’s true for all of us, isn’t it. Not the particular woman named Hope but the stuff of hope. When clients show up in my office they trail a connection to hope, however tenuous and hidden. They wouldn’t have taken the time to find my name and number and to make a phone call or send an email without it. They wouldn’t have taken the time out of their (usually very busy) days to meet with me if there wasn’t some part of them somewhere that help a hope that something could be different. Otherwise, why bother?
Of course, they often do not see this. They protest when I speak of hope and pronounce themselves hopeless. I tell them that I see it even if they do not, and I will hold that hope until they are ready to hold it for themselves.
Although Spirit does not always come up as I work with my counseling clients, I think holding hope is one of the functions of Christian community. We gather to remember and to remind ourselves that hope is indeed our friend and hope s indeed part of the narrative of our lives.
No matter how many wrong choices we’ve made, prodigals are celebrated home and sinners are forgiven. No matter how deep the wound or how long we’ve carried the hurt, healing is possible. No matter how final the ending there us yet another door of beginning again, an invitation to be about the creating of new worlds. Even as we’re walking through the valley of the shadow, life is yet around the corner.
Hope is our friend. In some circumstances it is simply the hope that we’ll be able to muddle through whatever life is bringing to us. But the Spirit gives us hope that we do not muddle alone.
Every time you walk in to a counselor’s office or show up at a workshop, hope is the nudge that helps you show up. Every time you get up and agree (however unwillingly) to face the day, hope helps us to say yes. Every time you choose to take one more breath, one more step, to take on one more challenge or to take advantage of one more opportunity hope is the nudge forward. We do not always realize this because sometimes Hope rides incognito. But we wouldn’t have any of it without some small hope.
Hope is our friend.