“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” -Christopher ReeveWho doesn’t love a good quote from Superman? He shares several nuggets of wisdom and is a memorable symbol of hope. Often, I think we need a Superman to come rescue us from the chaos and crime and hatred plaguing the world. With recent events, many are left feeling hopeless. The bombardment of news stories and controversies on every social media outlet slowly drain the positive energy and light nourishing your spiritual core. But there is hope. It lies within you, stronger than the hatred of riots and darkness of deceit that is consuming our nation. Your inner light, your soul, the spiritual you is the answer to a brighter future.
Pastor and American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Chris Hedges, shared the true meaning of hope: “Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is action. Hope is doing something.” I think each of us wishes there was greater peace and unity in our communities currently. But that won’t happen by just snapping our fingers. Hope is individually standing up for what we believe in or offering a kind hand to a stranger. We must each take a personal risk and reach out of our comfort zone. Hope is creating change.Last month, for the first time in 800 years, multiple planets aligned to create what was deemed “the great conjunction.” I’ve always loved stargazing. It’s magical in its own divine way and pulls my soul upward toward the universe. But viewing this astronomical phenomenon was unique. It made me think about light and how sharing our individual light with others only enhances our own brightness. Truly the night sky is a masterpiece, with the vast number of stars glittering a black canvas. But the combination of light that night was breath-taking. Hope is similar. Each of us carry an inner light of hope—“an outreaching desire with expectancy of good” (Edward Ames). When we light the flame of another’s hope and combine our souls in the pursuit of goodness, remarkable spiritual growth occurs. Reach out. Stand up. And create hope in your little bubble of influence. Miracles will happen.
A few months ago, I was in a dark place. A tragic car accident took the lives of two of my siblings, both under the age of 30. They had a lot of life left to live and left behind small children and several family members—all now working through the grieving process. Even though I had moments and even days where grief totally overtook me, I found I was one of the first family members to discover light and happiness again. I was confused and a little annoyed that other close family members were still bitter and angry and somber. What was the difference? Everyone experiences the grieving process differently and progresses through each stage at their own pace. Looking back, I know I could have been a little more patient as others were grieving on their own time frame. I was fortunate enough—and extremely grateful—to discover hope early on. Hope pulled me out of the dark and nourished my aching soul. It fueled my spirit and helped me remember that God still loved me, despite this tragedy. Hope was the reason I got out of bed every morning. This glimmer of hope, buried under the plethora of emotions and moments of despair, fought its way deep into my core. Hope led to greater love and light. It showed me gratitude and faith—both attributes that disappeared for awhile at the time of the accident. Hope brought my soul back to life.Certainly if hope can recharge a broken soul, it can help in tremendous ways on a daily basis. Spiritual habits invite hope into our lives. Let’s look back at Edward Ames' definition: “an outreaching desire with expectancy of good.” Spiritual practices such as service, studying sacred text, prayer and meditation invite the light of hope into our daily lives. They nourish our soul and give us the courage to take a stand. Remember, hope is action. And when we nourish our souls through daily spiritual habits, we’ll see this inner desire and the “expectancy of good” come to life.
With the world in chaos all around us, we must find time to stand still. If we are too focused on the negative events plaguing our nation, we’ll miss the opportunity to learn the soul-fueling virtue of hope. Hope comes as we connect with God. We strengthen this virtue as we engage in spiritual exercises that deepen our inner beliefs. Hope develops gradually—as we pursue our own personal spiritual wellness and are sparked by others’ light. So don’t give up. You aren’t alone in your desire to find peace and goodness in this chaotic world. Deep within, there’s a glimmer of hope. Find it. Nourish your soul and strengthen your hope through regular spiritual practices. Then share it. We’re counting on you.